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Help! Dad Needs Your Advice!

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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.

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29 comments so far | Post a comment now
Carolelp January 25, 2009, 6:17 AM

You do need to chill out. My eldest daughter didnt sleep until she was three years old - you have a way to go yet! The best advice I got was ‘just get through each night, and do whatever feels right at the time’ - in the end she had books, puzzles and teds in her cot/bed with her, she kept herself entertained. She’s 23 now, and very bright, but still doesn’t need much sleep.

Don’t worry about the dummy (pacifier) - as soon as they can talk, you wait until Christmas Eve then tell them that Father Christmas likes to collect all the dummies up from children who are all grown up now and he gives them to new babies who need them - it worked three times!

My advice? Just relax and enjoy your children - it won’t be long before they are swearing at you with venom because you’re poking you nose in their business and ‘what do you know anyway?’

Nilla January 25, 2009, 12:10 PM

I exchanged my mobile with teeth marks, my daughter loved chewing on it and eventually corroded the battery with her dribble

mtoews January 25, 2009, 9:20 PM

We all once lived in tribes, and while no longer surrounded by the circle of people we have the most connection with, I think we still need a sense of connection. …That includes babies. Their innate
programming includes the need for a sense of safety and connection.

So what about sleeping? While some (especially overwhelmed mothers) may want to go to bed alone, most prefer someone to cuddle. Why would that be any different for a baby? It doesn’t seem
right: the parents sleep with each other for company and the baby should sleep alone? Ok, I
get that parents need their own space. But when and in what way? There will be many opportunities to ‘wean’ the baby: from nursing, from company falling to sleep, from diapers, etc. My take is: don’t do it prematurely!
What is premature? Your baby will help you figure that out if you pay attention. There is no set time for any child, developmentally. Each is different. My son was about 6 months out of synch with what the ‘experts’ might predict. He is now 25, confident, socially engaged, talented, brag, brag. He turned out great. I followed his lead and he weaned himself, potty trained himself, began walking himself, etc. Because he was READY. The moment of READINESS is the primo moment for your child to make developmental leaps. Watch how he responds and you will find the time will come. Don’t push it. Here’s a marvelous book I recommend to folks: The Continuum Concept, by
Jean Liedlow. A fascinating adventure into tribal culture by a self described adventuress, and her subsequent astonishment and further anthropological study of a culture and their child rearing practices.

sonya April 30, 2009, 2:36 PM

How freakin funny is this? Well I think you are trying to play it too safe with the so called “right and wrong” ways of doing things. Love your child and teach them early on what is acceptable and what is not. They will fall and bonk their head pleanty in life and belive it or not they are pretty much indestructable. As for the “binky” my kids were both around 3 when we (I) decided it was time and we cut that pretty much cold turkey. I think you have a while before you need to rid that of his life.(use it while you can) As for the kissing, my son is 10 and is a complete mommas boy, pretty much a lover in general, even with dad. So as long as the affection is on going as he gets older, he will know no different. Now trying to do all this in public will be a different story. Best of luck and do what comes naturally. Remember just love and communicate unconditionally and the rest will fall into place!!


rugbymom May 4, 2009, 12:33 PM

Mr. Starke, I have read another one of your posts and I find them both equally hilarious. My question to you is, do you ask these questions because we Moms just can’t resist rushing to offer advice (otherwise unsolicited) and laugh at all the equally hilarious (but not in the same way) comments?

I have to admit, I’m guilty too. I was dying to jump in and tell you all about it! But because I can’t resist, I must recommend one thing-Babywise. Both my girls were sleeping through the night and I got some great tips from those books. If you sincerely decide to read, let me know. I’d be happy to discuss further.

Cvqarlro June 26, 2009, 2:29 AM

3MiRY9 comment3 ,

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Rob Kruse January 5, 2010, 8:02 PM

You should check out the Jack Mat for your fireplace. This is a custom made hearth safety pad that also acts as comfortable seating. It is custom made to fit your hearth and comes in many fire retardant fabric colors to match your decor. My Jack Mat is ten years old and has saved many tragedies with my three children ranging from 4 to 10.

Lisa July 5, 2010, 1:27 AM

I woke up today depressed but after finding this post my state of mind got better.

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