Five Little Monkeys With a Tragic Ending

Since moving up into Ms. Gloria’s 3-4 Year Olds class at daycare this month, Liam has been learning a whole new set of songs.   I think we’ve heard Five Little Monkeys Swinging In a Tree about 20 times every day this week.   And the practice is paying off, because he’s nearly got all the words memorized — and has even started embellishing it with other details as you’ll see in the video below.   Enjoy!

"C" is for Cookie

Yesterday, we went to the Healthy Kids Fun Day at Floyd Gwyn Park sponsored in part by MCH.   Cookie Monster and The Biscuit Brothers were there to entertain the kids.   I wasn’t sure how they were going to promote Cookie Monster as “healthy” but they pulled it off with saying that besides cookies, he also loves all kinds of vegetables and healthy food.

  Ok, sure, I bought into that.

I wasn’t expecting much from The Biscuit Brothers since I’d never heard of them before but I was pleasantly surprised.   They were quite entertaining and the kids loved them.   They sang and interacted with the kids doing silly dances and songs.   If you have the opportunity, you should check them out!

Next up was Cookie Monster.   I felt sorry for him with all that hair in the 100+ Texas heat.   You would’ve thought he was a big enough celebrity that they could have kept him in an air conditioned building!   The first time we stood in line to see him, we didn’t make it to the front of the line before they shut it down. He had to take a break so we had to wait another hour for him to come back.   We made it through the line the second time and here’s a short video of Liam living his dream and giving Cookie Monster a big hug:

Some of the other kids left the line crying over being frightened by a giant, hairy, blue monster that entices you to like him by eating cookies, but not our boy; Liam knows no fear and would gladly take on any of the creatures that live on Sesame Street!
 

Liam’s First Dentist Appointment

Liam had his first dentist appointment last Wednesday.   I started preparing him for what to expect a few days in advance and he was very excited about meeting this Dr. Jones in Franklin Dentist.

For days he talked about going to the dentist and the morning of the big day, he woke up all excited.   As we sat in the waiting room, he announced proudly (and loudly) that he wanted to see the dentist.

As expected, when he got to the room, he turned bashful, had nothing to say, and buried his head into my chest.   He barely looked at the dentist out of the corner of he eyes when he came into the room.   I put him into the "big" chair and he was one scared little boy but fortunately, he didn’t cry.

We’ve been pretty diligent about teethbrushing being a part of each evening’s bedtime prep and it seems that our routine is paying off.   Once the dentist coaxed him into opening his mouth like an alligator, he said that Liam’s teeth looked good.   He’s hoping that after a few more visits Liam will be comfortable enough to let him take x-rays, otherwise we go to an Idaho Falls family dentist better.   For now though, we’ll just keep on brushing!

Liam at the dentist

 

Command Nonperformance

Michigan J. FrogDede, Ashley & I were griping outside the daycare yesterday that we can never get our kids to repeat in public the latest especially cute or impressive thing they’ve been doing at home. I suspect getting kids to perform on cue is a universal problem that all parents must face. In fact it seems however much you’d like your child to recite or reenact some cool thing, that’s exactly inversely proportional to the likelihood that he or she will actually do so.

I call this the Michigan J. Frog syndrome.

Well after I made that comment, Dede was blown away that I even knew the name of that silly singing frog from the old Saturday morning Looney Tunes cartoons.   Furthermore, she insisted that there’s no way anyone else would ever catch such an obscure reference.   Ah, but I know that if all else fails, there’s at least one guy who would—without hesitation— know precisely what I was talking about.

So this post is for you, Pete C.!

Generation Z – The Natives Are Restless

I’m sure you’ve heard of the demographic groups "Generation X" and "Generation Y" — and there’s a good chance that you fall into one of those two — but did you know there’s also a category for our kids: "Generation Z."   While there’s some contention about the exact start & end years, this generation generally consists of children born after 1995 and will cut off at 2021.   (Some insist that this group begins in 2001 and accordingly, label it the "9-11 Generation.")

However you define it, today’s kids will be the most connected generation ever in terms of technology and on a worldwide scale.

  They will have never known a world without the Internet, notebook PCs, digital cameras, iPods, DVDs, & cellular phones.   They will have never known life without MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and a vast sea of other social media stuff that many of us are only just now tentatively dipping a toe into.   Generation Z children are, in other words, digital natives.   Or to put it another way…

Your child is a digital native but you’ll forever be a digital immigrant.


I recently ran across those terms from and the concept really stuck with me.   It’s been such a pervasive notion that it’s prompted lots of introspection & raised some very interesting questions.

I’m amazed by how appropriate the concept is, especially thinking in terms of literal immigrants who come to America, with the barriers for entry and the subsequent difficulties that they face once here.   As I’ve mulled this over, I keep remembering movies & TV shows where immigrants and/or their children were central to the stories.   Thinking the similarities between the concepts of national and digital immigrants, I’m forced to wonder:

  • Is my thick immigrant accent coming through when I rail against cell phone text messaging?   (A phone, after all, is for talking to someone else!)
  • Is refusing to add a DVD player in my car a bit like clinging to archaic Old World values that’re out of place in today’s society?
  • By not embracing MySpace, satellite radio, or streaming movies, am I like an aggravatingly stubborn immigrant who struggles with (or simply chooses to remain mostly ignorant of) English language?
  • Do my arguments that technology is making us impatient and short-sighted seem like quaint, cranky ramblings about how things were back in the "Old Country?"

What about you — what do you think of the concept of digital natives vs. immigrants?   Do you see how it applies to you?
 

Ward Cleaver Strikes Back

fiftiess Dad iconRemember the vintage advertisements of the ’50s that featured the Dad sitting in his easy chair, enjoying a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper and usually wearing a suit & tie or at least a smoking jacket & house slippers? For the past several weekends, I’ve had that image lodged in my head. I certainly don’t bear any resemblance to that Norman Rockwell-ish depiction, but lately, I sure am feeling it…

Y’see, I always brew up a fresh pot of coffee in the mornings. And back around the first of the year, we started subscribing to the newspaper. Then you add in the other new tradition we’ve sorta eased into, "Pancake Saturdays," (courtesy of Dede!) and you have the makings for quite a cozy start to the weekend.

So there I was early this morning, having padded out to the end of the driveway in my robe & big fluffy houseshoes to get the Sunday paper, retreating to my big brown leather easy chair with a cup of coffee in hand. Y’know, a few routines of fatherhood were a bit tough to get accustomed to, but then there are some that are just downright comfy to settle into.

Welcome back to the ’50s — just call me “Mr. Cleaver.”

Welcome!

Since we’ve just passed Liam’s first Gotcha Day anniversary, we decided it was the right time to wrap things up on our Russian Adoption Journey blog and transition our posting back over to this, our main blog site. So, if you’re one of our regulars visiting from that site, we’d like to welcome you to 2Dolphins and encourage you to continue to follow along with us over here.

Photo of Liam waving
“Don’t be afraid, come on over!”

TMI NTN *

I’ve recently read a number of blog posts referencing a new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which suggests that cell phones benefit families by allowing them to stay more regularly in touch even when they are not physically together.   But I just don’t know…

baby using a cell phoneIsn’t this just another case of today’s parents falling into that "My kids should have it better than I did" snare?   I’ve mentioned before that I think our society is carelessly immersing our children in needless technology.   Sure, I want my child to have every advantage possible, but the thing is, I’ve yet to see anything that convinces me that more technology equals better learning or a better life for kids.   In fact, the hyperactive and tech-laden lifestyle that’s prevalent these days could actually be breaking down the family unit and hindering the quality of our childrens’ lives.

I tend to believe that cell phones actually rob children of their independence & rationale.   Kids today are no longer prompted to think about or mentally map out what they’ll be doing for the remainder of the day as they head out the door.   Instead, they wander aimlessly off into the day, knowing that they’re never more than a button-press away from Mom or Dad who’ll swoop in and rescue them at the last minute.   Rather than having to figure out problems on their own — and in the process become self-sufficient — kids simply "text" Mom and get an immediate answer.   Cell phones are stripping away any need for children to reason through and try to resolve their own situations.

Prior generations of children grew up healthy & happy without all of this instantaneous communication, yet everyone now seems to feel that they "need" constant connectivity just to survive.   What’s your take on this?   Do you (or will you) provide your child a cell phone?   Do you worry that this is just another symptom of helicopter parenting?

* Text-Message Translation:   Too much information, no thinking necessary
 

Paris Hilton Shall NOT Be In Attendance

Baking For the Birthday Boy

Dede's homemade cupcakesLiam is turning the big "2" tomorrow so in preparation for the occasion, Dede got all domesticated today and baked not only a coupla dozen cupcakes for his daycare class, but also a big cake, complete with artful writing & sprinkles, for a little family gathering that we had today.

Yes, that’s right Brad D. & Glenda, we’re not total sticks in the mud — we do let Liam have sweets from time to time.   And even though he’ll be turning 2 years old tomorrow, this’ll be the first time he’s ever had a birthday party, so this certainly qualifies as a sweets-worthy occasion!

Watch our Russian Adoption Journal blog for highlights & photos of the big event!

Have Birthdays Jumped the Shark?

And on the topic of birthdays, Dede & I have been noticing that there’s a definite trend towards increasingly extravagant children’s birthday parties.   Renting a traveling petting zoo, reserving private time at a water park, a block party complete with a DJ spinning kids’ music…   These soirees costing hundreds of dollars or more are arranged by ordinary, otherwise well-meaning, mere mortals like us or you — not whackadoo celebrities in LA-LA-Land for whom money is no object.

University of Minnesota social science professor William Doherty has founded an online campaign called Birthdays Without Pressure to shed a little light on the excesses that seem to have overtaken today’s birthday parties & offer resources to help combat the intense pressure that some parents say they’re under to ramp up for these behemoth birthday bashes for their kids.   The website offers some great ideas for low-key, low-cost, low-stress birthdays that’re still fun for all involved.

Do you think childrens’ birthday parties are beginning to become excessive?   Have you encountered a birthday bash that seemed over-the-top?
 

March ’08 Blogtipping

Blogtipping iconMarch marks the 1st anniversary of Blogtipping here on 2Dolphins.   I’ve enjoyed being able to offer a little tip o’ the hat each month to a few fellow bloggers.   If you know of a blogger who deserves a little extra attention, be sure to post a comment!

Still cruising along on the parental theme, this month’s Blogtipping highlights 3 blogs I’ve discovered recently that’re for dads.   Many of us dads don’t have the advantage of the instinctive parenting know-how that most of our wives seem to have, so we can use all the help we can get!

Dad Balance Digest by Derek Semmler is a resource for , & discussions for Dads who’re struggling to find a healthy balance between career & family.   Derek offers:

  1. Practical tips & advice for making the most of your "family time."
  2. Relatable & funny stories to help drive home key points or ideas.
  3. Easy to navigate site & RSS feed makes it easy to keep up with the latest posts.
  • Tip: I enjoyed the interviews with well-known bloggers like Darren Rowse & Leo Babauta.   I’d like to see more of these!

MetroDad is less about offering advise or pointers but more about sharing stories from the battlefield that is fatherhood:

  1. MD seems to be from that cusp between the "Baby Boomers" and "Generation X," so his stories are very relavent.
  2. MD’s anecdotes are hilarious!
  3. Add the blog’s feed to your RSS reader and you can stay up-to-date easily.
  • Tip: I believe MD is working on some design changes that’ll bring a fresh look to the site.

noodad from Gregory Ng & Mike Schneider is a blog for new dads who’re looking for a little guidance — or just other dads to sympathize with.   With a site logo that’s a baby bottle morphing into a beer bottle, what more do ya need?   It’s worth a look because:

  1. Practical advice & tips for us newbie dads.
  2. Great product reviews!
  3. Hot celebrity mom polls!
  • Tip: Hey guys, please add a category on your sidebar for product reviews to make ’em a bit easier to find those articles!

As a bonus, I’ve just got to mention DadLabs again.   The videoblogs that these crazy dads from Austin crank out are not just insightful & informative, but they’re also freakin’ hilarious!