Category Archives: Baby

Nerd Dad’s top 10 parenting tips

I have seen so many of these and they all say nothing so they must be easy to write. Hopefully these tips will inspire and assist you in being a better parent.

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1. It is best not to eat your children. It is neither ecologically sound (the carbon footprint of a child is considerably larger than that of a cow) or very sanitary (depending on how clean your house is). Few butchers will assist you in jointing the meat so there will inevitably be excess waste without the help of a professional.

2. Moving on from point 1. Children and kitchen knives should be mutually exclusive. The contamination risk posed to your expensive kitchen implements by an unwashed toddler is high. Bone (albeit supple bendy bone) blunts knives horribly.

3. Keep strong alcohol away from young children. They are badly behaved enough when sober.

4. Keep your illegally owned handguns hidden from view. The kids shooting someone is bound to give away the fact that you own one and the penalties for this can be quite high.

5. Let children out of the house into the sunshine every so often. Vitamin D supplements can be expensive and calculating paediatric doses is a right pain.

6. Don’t let your children play video games all day, if they are on the X-Box incessantly when will you get a chance to complete all 16 hours of Modern Warfare Black Ops 6?

7. Leads are for dogs and choke chains are a definite no-no, too swift a tug is likely to result in a fall, thereby drastically and unacceptably lengthening your walking time. Reins or wrist straps are more socially acceptable and less destabilising alternatives.

8. Name your children. Without doing so differentiating between them can be challenging, you also have nothing to shout across the room when they are carjacking another kid’s Cozy Coupe in playgroup.

9. Speak to your children. If they don’t learn a language how are you going to ask them to fetch the remote or answer the phone for you?

10. Finally, the most obvious one, probably not in keeping with some of the previous subtler, debatable points above. This one is so obvious I’m not sure why I’m adding it – VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN, it stops them and others getting horrible preventable diseases. The anti-vaxers can deny they work and claim harm all they like, they can also deny the existence of cheese for all I care and that will be total bollocks too.

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Filed under Baby, Dadbloggers, Dads, fatherhood, Nerd, Parenting, Parenting tips, top 10

An experiment to try

I was at a talk today by an infant psychologist. It was about attachment and the importance of babies’ social interactions. The need for love has long been established as stronger than the need for food in some rather unpleasant experiments sensorily depriving rhesus monkeys in the 50’s and 60’s, which by the way would never pass any ethics committee these days. The following video shows it, it isn’t very “nice” but fascinating nevertheless.

The speaker showed us a video of the “Still face experiment” where the researcher got a parent to show no emotion and not interact at all with their baby and watched their response.

I tried it today on The Boy, it was startling, at only 4 months he reacted just as described in the video, given his level of development (i.e. he smiled, he waved his limbs around, he looked away, he vocalised then cried. He didn’t point or gesture at anything – he isn’t capable of it) what was more startling was that he did it in only about 30 seconds.

It is abundantly clear that if only 2 mins gets this reaction imagine what damage having a disengaged distant parent would be, or worse the psychological damage done by having no stable parent at all like in the Eastern European orphanages reported so widely in mid the 90s.

Apparently your social responses and desire for social interaction is hard wired by about 18 months! The speaker put up pictures of a functional MRI study that showed temporal lobe activity in the sensory deprived kids is grossly reduced – whole bits of brain aren’t turned on when they should be! Some other researchers did weird sensory and social depravation experiments on animals (I missed the details) and their temporal lobes just didn’t develop properly. It’s amazing to think your social interaction and how people treat you determines how well bits of your brain grow!

Try it on your little one – it’s fascinating! (Clearly I mean the face experiment, not depriving them then dissecting out their temporal lobes).

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Filed under Baby, Biology, Dads, doctor, psychology, science

For God’s sake Dad! “Monkey Doodle”? REALLY?

Stupid baby cutesy talk used to make me hurl. Hearing Mums ask their mewling offspring “Has babywaby gottta soggy bumbum?” in the street use to have me reaching fot the nearest fire axe. “I will never talk to my children like that!” the young Nerd thought (just “Nerd” at the time and not Nerd Dad as children were merely hypothetical, in fact The Wife was not only hypothetical but improbable given hygiene and Games Worksop obsession issues).

Hmmmm. What a difference a sprog makes. The other day we realised that our baby babble had taken hold. Bigtime. There is something about chatting away and not expecting any response that seems to absolve you of having to make any sense. These nonsense phrases and babblings, much like the silly songs I previously mentioned, appear without warning. He has now started to respond, mainly in squeals and squeaks.

I started calling our little guy “Monkey Boy” partly because of his excess of hair but mainly because it mildy annoyed The Wife. The Wife took to calling him Little Dude; I suppose because …well… he’s little … and a dude? Little Dude became Dudlelet, then Doodle, Monkey Boy became Monkey ….. and “Monkey Doodle” was coined.

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Unsurprisingly all cultures babble at their babies and your babble is dictated by your language and baby noises are dependant on the type and frequency of your babbling. Apparently we all start off the same an then babble becomes language specific so eventually Chinese learning babies babble is totally different to English learning babies. Babbling apparently also teaches babies how conversation works, the structure of speech and how to take turns.

So, as well as making all those around us puke with our cutesy baby talk we are unconsciously teaching them the sounds, structure and timbre of our language. In summary Baba baba boo boo who’ my wuvvwy wuvvwy wickle Monkey Doodle den?

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Filed under Baby, Dadbloggers, Dads, fatherhood, Nerd

Zombies and babies

It is clear when a child is to young to see violent/disturbing films but when is a baby too old to see them?

I was contemplating this as I was cuddling The Boy one evening whilst watching a particularly graphic dismemberment during an episode of The Walking Dead. If he was 3 there is no way in hell it’d be on TV. Once I thought he understood any of it it would be instantly banned during waking hours, but my little fella is only 6 weeks old. He can see 30 – 60cm and reacts to light and pretty colours, admittedly mainly red during this episode.

I quite like The Walking Dead, I feel a definite kinship with the brainless shells of people bumbling around mindlessly because something had destroyed their ability to function, I do wonder if the protagonists accidentally take out the odd ante-natal class meet up in the erroneous impression that the groaning haggard new mums are infact zombies.

(From Apocalypse Cometh)

The Wife hates horror films and so anything about zombies and she’s outta there, much to my discredit it has to be pretty graphic and awful for me to even register it, I usually only register it when a severed limb squirts with the wrong number of arteries or arteries blatantly in the wrong place. Then I get irritated and not disgusted or scared. Medicine ruins horror.

In fact, the last time I saw something really disturbing that made me feel sick on TV (other than Jersey Shore) it was the reality show “One Born Every Minute” which had a baby with shoulder dystocia getting into trouble and I almost had to leave the room because it was making me anxious. I KNEW that they’d never show it if either Mum or Baby carked it but nevertheless… I felt sick ….. and bloody glad I didn’t choose obstetrics!

But when should we start being careful about what’s on TV? I suppose we should be circumspect about what we watch right from the beginning but it seems a bit excessive. The Boy doesn’t even have a concept of self yet, let alone being able to recognise and understand death, violence or, most importantly in this particular situation,  hoards of half decomposed exploding bloodthirsty zombies. We are surrounded by sex and violence and we are desensitised to it all, not batting an eyelid when an “unsub” is said to have “raped all 12 murder victims” or something equally hideous, much like me any my occupationally induced inability to register gore. Think back to the last five things you watched on telly, I bet at least three of them had something you wouldn’t want your little ‘un to see. For me this was Wallander, Criminal Minds, The Walking Dead, the NZ News and a documentary about shark finning, a pretty nasty collection of real and imagined violence and gore.

I fully anticipate this issue to become more and more complex once The Boy grows up enough to browse the internet. Do an experiment for me – type something innocuous that we probably say to our babies on a daily basis like “bum” or “poo”  and see if you would want your 5 year old looking at those images. Then think what they will find once they type in more interesting words that they learn. The first thing I did when I learnt a new rude word, as a growing nerd, was head to the nearest dictionary to giggle and marvel at the enormous variety of ways genitals can be described. It disturbs me that the equivalent of sniggering in the dictionary corner for my son will be staring wide eyed at google images. I sincerely doubt every computer he accesses will have safe search turned on.

I expect I’ll just play it by ear knowing that if at any point he takes out the neighbours with a pump action shotgun or I find dismembered hitch hikers strewn all over the garden again, I have probably been too lax in supervising his viewing.

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Filed under Baby, Dads, doctor, fatherhood, Nerd, television, violence

What do you mean you mean you AREN’T interested in my revolting offspring?

One thing I am struggling with in this new-parent role is keeping a perspective on life. It is sometimes very difficult to remember that my little sprog isn’t anything special, he isn’t newsworthy and the whole world doesn’t need to know about his every erucation and defecation. Infact, this blog itself is a symptom of my inability to keep quiet about The Boy. In my defence I have tried to keep bodily function news to a minimum ‘cos it’s gross and unimaginative (although gross and unimaginative are both words one could use to describe me at my most boorish) but I do have a tendency to go on a bit.

I’m afraid you guys, my lovely readers, are fair game. You are daft enough to log on and actually look at the rubbish I proudly write about The Boy.

So far, in 6 weeks I have managed to keep somewhat of a lid on things. There are only 7 photos of The Boy on Facebook uploaded to my account. There are considerably more uploaded by friends and family but I am only responsible for 7. I suspect however UnBabyMe may get a few new customers thanks to our new arrival.
Actually I have never minded baby photos – I get irritated by the self congratulatory “I just ran soooooooo far soooooo quickly and here is the GPS via Nike and Umbro and Sepcialized bikes and my $400 trainers to prove it”. Your kids and cute and interesting, YOUR RUNS ARE NOT. There is a reason joggers run alone IT’S BORING AND NOBODY WANTS TO GO WITH YOU! When  you win a medal fine, let the world know.
I tried it myself the other day. According to the Nike App it was 10m to my fridge, I went there and back in 3 minutes (I think I stopped to say “hello” to the budgies on the way) and on the return journey I was carrying over 500g of extra weight (a beer). I am not sure this exercise run-mapping thing suits me. I think I’ll stick to cuddling The Boy on the sofa for now, waxing lyrical about how awesome my child is to all who read my drivel.

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Filed under Baby, Dads, fatherhood, nonsense, Uncategorized

A new cultural repository of parental masterpieces

I have decided, as one of my planned (many) great legacies for mankind that I will start a repository of the amazing and diverse songs sung to their children by parents. I don’t mean the dross like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or other dull lullabies. Puff the Magic Dragon can … Puff off back to the cave he hides in at the end of his song. I mean the parental masterpieces that emerge out of that weird mixture of excitement, fatigue, love, sleep depravation, and sheer frustration. Those songs that are sung at 3am to a wriggly person with a full nappy; partly to amuse the wriggler but mainly to amuse yourself. The silly songs that you never expect people to hear, not for public performance. These songs and rhymes come from nowhere and go back to nowhere, but blogosphere, I tell you no longer! They will now live forever, preserved in my repository of this cultural phenomenon! The NDPSPP (Nerd Dad Parental Song Preservation Project) pronounced…..  um….  Nud-Pus Puh-Puh (I suppose).

Our pre-parenthood selves had previously noticed these daft songs, friends of ours have a piece called “Yum yum yum in your tum tum tum” which it is traditional to sing shortly after eating. On our first hearing this, which in retrospect is a true masterpiece, The Wife and I initially exchanged partly startled and partly pitying glances. Now we are composers in our own right, artists on our first forray into the wide and varied world of nonsense baby songs.

I have decided to follow in the footsteps of greats like Vaughan Williams who collected old English folk songs and Dvorak who incorporated Bohemian folk music into many of his pieces. I will soon take my rightful place amongst these cultural titans as the saviour of nonsense baby songs.

There are many unanswered questions I suppose. So why am I so selflessly toiling to preserve these rare cultural gems of music and poetry? What is driving my altruistic fervor? How can one man be such a visionary, still find time to change nappies and remain so amazingly, incredibly modest?

The inspiration for this grand cultural endeavour comes from K.L Huyghebaert’s masterpiece “Squidgy Squidgy Fish Feet” that I fortuitously encountered whilst perusing her blog, highly recommended. This piece is somewhat less abusive than my own compositions and is a classic of the genre.

SQUIDGY SQUIDGY FISH FEET

Squidgy squidgy fish feet,

On my Jonah a-sweet-treat!

 

In the company of such an accomplished practitioner of the art of nonsense baby songs may I also humbly present the first few songs of ours to be preserved?-

STINKY BUTT

Stinky butt, stinky butt

You got a stinky, stinky butt.

Stinky butt, stinky butt

You are really stinky Butt

 

SNOOOOOZLES

Snooooozles, time for snoooooozles.

Snooooozles, time for snoooooozles.

 

MILKY CHOPS

Milky Chops, Milky Chops

You have milky milky Chops

Milky Chops, Milky Chops

Milkymilkymilkymilkymilky chops.

 

LITTLE MONKEY

Go to sleep Little Monkey

Though you smell a little funky

Off now to the Land of Nod

GO TO SLEEP YOU LITTLE SOD

 

Public performance rights are available on all these on application for a moderate-to-hefty fee.

For this important cultural endeavour I have secured several thoudsand terabytes of space in top secret servers in a nuclear blast proof bunker to ensure these cultural tours-de-forces are available for future generations.

I eagerly await your contributions to the NDPSPP.

 

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Filed under Baby, Dads, fatherhood, NDPSPP, Nerd, nonsense

Niiiiice

I just had The Boy sitting on my lap. I kissed him on his forehead and said “I love you Little Fella”.
He stared back at me cutely with his big grey eyes, slowly and deliberately opened his tiny mouth … And burped milk into my face.

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Definitely my son.

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All my base are belong to The Boy

What on earth has just ht me? Where am I and what time is it? …. And how many days have I been wearing this T-Shirt for?

OH MY GOD! He weighs less than 4Kg, I can hold him in one arm, and he has completely taken over. Like all new parents we have had good days and very bad days. A screaming baby is bad enough, but when that screaming baby is YOUR screaming baby, and your biological imperative is to do everything you can to keep him safe and happy…. It’s hard. The Wife is finding it especially hard to tune out the noise. It drills into your head, in a way another baby’s crying doesn’t. I had heard about this phenomenon before but I am surprised at how strong it is.

Aother change is that I have become Dadzilla. My life perspective is now quite bizzare and polarised. My facebook feed is full of revolting offspring photos, all I talk about is The Boy, I am boring all within earshot with tales of my cute amazing offspring, despite the fact that he can do nothing and keeps us awake all night screaming. the number of conversations I have with The wife about breasts has increased exponentially, but not in a good way. I’ll spare you the whole breast feeding saga bu needless to say, lots of time and energy is being devoted to it.

I can now see how important that oxytocin I mentioned in my earlier post is. You immediately fall in love with them in the first few hours and that feeling and that cuteness is what keeps the little sod safe when he is screaming at you for no apparent reason at 3AM. On a more unpleasant note I can really see how hideous things befall the infants of agressive, maladjusted, inarticulate men.

Standing there at my wits end in the small hours of the morning, not knowing what on earth to do to settle this little guy who has taken over my life (in a good way) I had a thought. I manage cardiac arrests, I calmly deal with life threatening asthma attacks, I deal with people at trauma calls with bits of their face missing …… but it’s a healthy screaming baby that has reduced me almost to tears and made me feel a useless failure. I’m sure all you other parents out there will agree, your living room at 3am with an inexplicably screaming child is an unexpectedly dark and unpleasant place.

The “Healthy” thing is another problem. The worst thing I could possibly imagine at the moment would be for something bad to happen to The Boy. North Korea launching nuclear war would be nothing in comparison! Every time he coughs the over protective new parent in me twitches with anxiety. Every spot on his face, every time he doesn’t feed well, I am convinced he has some hideous problem. I am a classic case of a little knowledge being a very dangerous thing. I know virtually no paediatrics, I spent 6 weeks out of my depth on a paeds ward as a student and that is the sum total of my experience. Children are not just small adults from a medical perspective, but inevitably I worry and invent problems in my head. Is there such thing as “Hypochondria by proxy”?

Everybody you speak to has advice, all conflicting, all “the only way to do it”. In my experience in Medicine, if there are numerous strongly expressed opinions there are inevitably no right answers. I will just comfort myself with that thought as I slink off to address some more nappy issues.

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Filed under Baby, Birth, breasts, Dads, doctor, Nerd

I know it’s only biology – but I like it!

The Boy is here! He arrived on the 4th weighing 8lb 4oz. He’s small, cute, cuddly and making his presence known. For someone who can’t yet control his facial muscles, let alone his hands he’s doing a very good job of controlling us! Already my days are pretty unrecognisable – hence the delay in posting.

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As super proud parents do, we went for a newborn photoshoot at 10 days with a local photographer. In true nerd fashion we had seen her on facebook and it turned out she was in the next town to us. She really was superb and very slick. NZers in the Waikato should look her up!

His birth was an interesting process from many perspectives. I had to go from Doctor where I run situations to what amounted to Cheerleader, and it took some adjustment. I had to constantly remind myself I was The Wife’s husband and not her doctor. This was especially difficult as it was unfortunately quite a “medical birth” no waterbaths and whalesong here my friends! After various medications, an epidural and lots of pushing and some pulling he was out. Out and screaming.

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Oxytocin – The “Hug Hormone”

The biologist side of me knows that I am designed to like my offspring. Oxytocin released by both of us when I hug my Little Man is there to help me bond with him and him to me. I am SUPPOSED to be smitten, to be instantly protective and adoring. I am an animal like all other mammals before me, I’m nothing special and these biological mind control tricks are as likely to work on me as they would on a dog or a badger.

I am so very happy though. It was magical, seeing my little man for the first time. Holding him and staring into his grey eyes as we studied each other for the first time will probably be one of the defining moments of my life. It is a bigger deal than any previous life event. the pride and happiness I felt at that moment was better than all my graduations, my wedding and pretty much anything else all combined, and yet ….. it’s nothing special, babies are born every minute of every day. I am not particularly clever or unusual in that my wife has had a baby. In the grand scheme of things – SO WHAT?

I know it’s only biology that makes me feel like this. Pure and simple. It’s only biology but it’s bloody awesome! I have never felt happier!

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Filed under Baby, Biology, Birth, Dads, doctor, Photography

Wish me luck Gold Leader – I’m going in …..

The big day is here!

Today we head into Mordor (the delivery suite is so called by us physicianly types in my hospital because it is a dark place full of enormous aggressive monsters screaming unintelligible obscenities) to evict The Boy. The induction starts at 2pm so I’ll be a Dad ….. soon.

Today marks a turning point in our lives, things will never be the same. There is probably no greater event in our whole lives than the birth of our fist child. Other events like graduations, first jobs and marriage are big but won’t result in such a dramatic change to the way we live and who we are. We get to tick a new box on forms and join a new demographic. I am honestly feeling relatively prepared, I think I have a realistic expectation of sleepless nights with highs and lows.

Some concerns remain. Who will he be? What if The Boy doesn’t like Star Wars? He might prefer Twilight! Or even worse, what if he thinks Science is “boring”?? Can you divorce your children?

Finally – you may be wondering what the hell I am doing messing around on a computer as The wife is wheeled into delivery suite. Am I crazy? Am I some uncaring evil deadbeat Dad ALREADY? No, I wrote this yesterday and set it up to be published today, remember I am nerdy not suicidal!

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Filed under Baby, Birth, Dads, Uncategorized