How Not To Be The Damsel In Distress

“You got to dig a little deeper; when you find out who you are, you’ll find out what you need”- Mama Odie, The Princess and The Frog.

If you are a parent, then you are definitely familiar with Walt Disney; so familiar that you find yourself humming the whimsical tunes when you are at work or in the car. Your not-parent friends will express their concern for your well-being, telling you that you have been brainwashed and need to listen to some Bruno Mars immediately. But it’s game over, I’m hooked. Especially since watching The Princess and the Frog three nights in a row….

Louis the gator really makes me laugh. He reminds me of a more jazzy and musical Baloo The Bear. Both characters of which remind the viewer to follow their dreams and always do the right thing.

Prior to my Disney days (probably since Peanut has started watching) I considered it was brainwashing material. But watching them now… I see the true genius of them.

Between the bright colors, the catchy music, and the hero’s tale, Disney discovered the key to every child’s fantasy and imagination. But under all of the sparkle, there is a hidden moral to each story that even an adult needs to be reminded of.

Tiana, the waitress from The Princess and The Frog that I have come to know, is not a princess, or at least not the stereotypical princess that is casted in glitter and pink. She sings of hard work and determination, but ends up turning out to be a workaholic.

Meanwhile, Navine, the prince, turns out to be irresponsible, losing all of his riches and getting himself into trouble with the Shadow Man because he wanted to live a life of no work and all play. Both characters turn out to be the “damsel in distress”, needing the other in order to discover their “true self.” With the help of a wise blind woman who “sees everything”, can you already sense the irony, the two begin to reconsider what it is that is the most important in their lives.

Keep getting out there and try and try again. You can never fail too much. You just gotta bounce.

So, next time my friends, you jump too quickly to criticizing Disney movies, maybe listen to the wise words of Mama Odie and “dig a little deeper .”

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Wanted: More Babies In Game Of Thrones

There aren’t enough baby characters in Game Of Thrones! Peanut can hang with adults but every now and then she wants to chill with someone her own age.

Let’s admit there are plenty of characters that act like babies and haven’t died yet. But of course George R. R. Martin decides to keep the most prolific gut wrenchingly jerky characters alive.

Oh Georgey, what a fascinating writer you are. I don’t understand how people get all flustered about GoT killing off a character. ‘But I loved that character and there was so much character development for him to get where he finally is…’

Personally, I love it. You never quite know when who will turn against whom or someone has a change of heart (much like life).

Wah, wah. You people cry more than Peanut (which really isn’t that much so you cry more than whiney babies).

Speaking of whiney babies, what purpose does Craster’s last son (one of the only babies in GoT) have in the story? He certainly brings out the mother wolf in Gilly. But I absolutely believe that ‘ol Georgey Martin formulates the relationships of his characters first in some cases. Certain qualities draw characters together and if one doesn’t exist yet – the author needs to create one to keep the story going or at least be marginally interesting.

For example, Sam (introduced pretty early on during the first season) was rejected by his family, specifically his father and eventually stumbles upon one Craster’s wives.

These characteristic push and pulls is what the membership GoT world is all about.

Perhaps the introduction of a baby character or even pregnancy could imply other than just a new friend for Peanut. Yes it can bring out the parent in a character like Sam and Gilly. But perhaps it were to bring about an heir to a certain throne that’s made of giant swords and iron!

I haven’t even read the books so I’m just spit ballin’ here and going off of Peanut’s concerns for a new friend. Or maybe she’s still waiting for the dragons to cool stuff.

Either way, we’re both screaming like babies in anticipation for this new season coming up.

 

How To Learn A Better Routine From A Baby

 

If there is one things babies know best it’s getting into a routine. As soon as Peanut wakes up in the morning she wipes the crusty eye boogies away and hops right into her daily routine.

Peanut is more consistent with her routine than a lot of other people. She delegates her time pretty well. There’s time for 6+ meals a day, workouts, naps and reading.

Do everyone a favor and eat breakfast in the morning! No one likes crabby Willem Dafoe when he hasn’t eaten his Snickers in the morning. Be more like Marilyn.

Pop culture references aside, we all know when you haven’t eaten anything because it shows. It’s scientifically proven people get angry when they’re hungry. The scientific word for this is hangry.

Don’t do that to yourself, or us.

Peanut goes crazy for her new bouncy seat. It’s basically a giant Nemo themed harness seat that is accompanied by Dori, Squirt and Mr. Ray (I remembered the song but not his name so I cheated and googled it). I would work out a whole lot more if gyms were Disney themed, just saying.

Also, according to sciencey things, working out is apparently really awesome for our bodies. Not just in the ‘I workout and look good’ way but the ‘yo I workout and feel good’ way. Working out releases dopamine and all sorts of other good stuff in the brain and improves overall health. It’s pretty much the best drug for you.

Check out a previous blog ‘Babies Workout Too’ to get off your lazy butt and work out!

Some people don’t advocate the whole nap thing, but I’m about it. You feel refreshed and recharged. Occasionally there’s a point in the afternoon where your body just goes ‘why are you awake right now’ and your productivity levels plummet.

So, to fix all of that take a 20-40 minute nap. If you think your 9-5 corporate grind doesn’t allow it that’s a bunch of hooey. If it’s that important, you’ll make time for it. My blog Baby Time can help you with that.

On your lunch break find a nap spot (they’re out there and just ripe for the pickin’) and get a little recharge in your afternoon.

Lastly, reading is pretty important. You learn a lot from it and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. In a world with more readable content on a daily basis than at any other time in human history, you are bound to read a lot. But I think too many of us read stuff that isn’t fun.

Are we really passionate about what the Kardashians are up to in People magazine? Let’s just agree that there are better things to be read out there. Peanut likes keepin’ it real with her ‘Listen To The Birds: An Introduction To Classical Music’ book (shout out to Aunt Lauren).

In all seriousness though, exposing children to multimedia content at a young age can be really beneficial. Just make sure the content is good!

Next Time You Want To Give Up, Keep Some Motivation In Mind

Motivation comes in many forms. Most commonly, motivation is an action, a word or a picture that centers your thoughts. It’s there for you on a hard day and it keeps you on the right path.

Peanut asked me recently, “ Dad, what happens if I fail and want to give up?”

And I replied, “Darlin’, that’s where the challenge begins and you start having fun.”

Humans are easily discouraged. When met with adversity and it seems as though the bombs are falling all around, people tend to give up. An internal dialogue reels through the mind saying, ‘This is it, you’ve failed. Time to give up.’

Now what if it’s possible to muster up a blind courage that ignore that devil on the shoulder. I guess we could call that courage an angel on your shoulder, but that’s kind of cheesy. I prefer calling it by a truer name, ‘willpower.’

Laugh in the face of failure and get your ass back up. Good things will happen.

Many people quote Winston Churchill as saying, “If you’re going through hell, just keep going.” The man’s got a pretty good point here. If you stop when everything is going wrong then more bad things are bound to happen. But if you keep trudging through the muck and the mire, there is a chance that good things happen.

I’ll take that chance.

Hugh Herr was an avid mountain climber at the age of 18 when he was caught in the middle of a blizzard. Hugh developed a severe case of hypothermia, but persevered through to ultimately be rescued three days. Hugh needed to have his legs amputated to survive – and the doctors said no more climbing.

Don’t take no for an answer.

Where there’s a will there’s a way – Hugh refused to give up. He joined an elite group of scientists at MIT and developed prosthetic technology that not only made it possible for him to climb again, he made it easier for other amputees to recuperate. His Biomechatronics research improved the coordination between the body and prosthetic through the development of mini computers in robotic limbs.

Here is a man, who had been told by mother nature, ‘give up,’ and by doctors ‘give up,’ to then go and prove them all wrong. Now that takes willpower.

It might seem so insignificant to some, but I changed my computer background to Hugh trudging up a mountain face with his robotic looking legs. I did this to remind me every single day what willpower is and when a particularly hard day comes around, it centers me and keeps me on the right path.

Next time you want to give up, dig deep down and find your willpower. Just keep going.

When Life Gives You Lemons, make…limoncello

Peanut here (I stole Dad’s laptop!!)

I have no idea what limoncello but Mama always laughs a little when she says this and then explains that when I am 21 I will understand. But for now, I will be drinking “lemonade.” For me, this saying simply means when life is being particularly hard on you just make the best of it.

It drives me bonkers when I hear people complaining about the little annoying things that happen over the course of their day. Ugh, all it does in February is snow.. 1month later… Ugh March is such a long and cold month; I can’t wait until April….1 month later…Ugh, all it does is rain in April; I can’t wait until the summer.

People love to complain, especially about the weather. Also, a lot of people like to complain in general about anything possible. It acts as their form of venting or distressing but in doing so I find it brings down the people around them. Complainers attract more complainers and nothing ends up getting done at the end of the day. Oh, and the stuff they were complaining about has since amplified in the mean time while they were complaining. It does nothing but hurt self-esteem, team collaboration, and efficiency.

Now I am going to stop complaining about people complaining about life because that’s rather hypocritical of me.

The other day I was upset about my teeth (which hurt a lot and I wake up in the middle of the night to let everyone know). And while I was upset, my mom first told me the classic saying about making this limoncello stuff.

So I’m like, “Hey, that sounds pretty yummy. Does it taste like milk?”

I thought about this saying for a while and realized that even though my teeth are painful I will be able to chew new food soon with my teeth, yum I can’t wait. So my solution to the problem was to realize everything is going to be okay (who woulda thunk it).

So, instead of complaining about my teeth, I will keep thinking about the good food that I can eat. It is this kind of thinking my mom says leads to happier days. And it is the happy days that lead to good things in the future.

I don’t just talk to talk. I make it count. So in the future, if you’re going to complain always have a solution to back it up. And remember Acta NonVerba (Actions Not Words).

No one enjoys sour lemons…make the good sweet stuff.

What To Do If You Poop Your Pants In Public

Shit happens all the time – in the middle of an intimate conversation, in a crowded room, while on public transportation. But it’s the personal reaction of the shitter themselves that will determine whether he gets out unscathed.

Peanut asked me the other day, “Dad, when shit happens to me at the most inopportune times what will your advice on what to do do?”

I responded with, “Hah, you said ‘do do.’

Okay okay no more poop jokes, what are we talking with babies here or something?

In all seriousness the first thing to keep in mind next time you’re in a sticky situation is to stay calm. No one else yet knows of what dwells below. Chances are you will be able to escape without them even being aware. Just play it cool.

If shit happens during a business meeting, stare intently at Bill’s chart of this quarter’s report and don’t panic. As hard as it may sound, maintain eye contact and have a strong will. You will survive this traumatizing event.

Next step is to plan the getaway. Call me paranoid but whenever I go to a restaurant I take the lessons I learned from Godfather with me. Don’t sit with your back to the bathroom and always expect unexpected attacks from the bathroom to occur.

Now when Peanut and the Gang go on a family outing, we always face the exits and have a bathroom in sight. But what if said bathroom is in a restaurant with no changing table. Even if you do make it to the bathroom you’re still up shits creek (last one I swear).

When a loved one shits their pants in public, it’s your duty (okay that’s the last one) to help with moral support in any way you can…or be a distraction. Prior to social events, create a hand signal that says, ‘IT’S HAPPENING’ and have an established escape plan. A wonderful distraction would be to subtly go open the bathroom door and immediately yell, “There’s a troll in the dungeon!!!!” And while every eye in the place falls upon a perfectly scripted distraction your loved one escapes to live another day (and find new shorts).

Once you make it out of said restaurant (fresh air thank god), find the nearest store and buy the first pair of pants you see. Now the most reliable spot to make a diaper change is the car – whether it’s yours or your baby’s. It takes some skill getting used to the angled seats, but the car is private and quiet in case someone starts to cry (usually me).

Expect the unexpected and follow my advice if ever caught in a stinky predicament.

Harry Potter Had It Figured Out

What about the good old days of going to school and one of the hardest decisions was to pick an owl, a cat, or a toad?

Harry Potter was a revolutionary series that spurred the imagination of thousands of young kids and swept them away into a magical world of witchcraft, wizardry, and teeming curiosity. Students were encouraged to pursue their curiosity in the form of magic classes and adventures – most importantly, they were taught how to think, not what to think.

After watching the movie, Peanut immediately asked if she could attend. I simply said, ‘if you work hard and let your creativity flow then you can go.’ Peanut promptly responded with, ‘I’ve got lots of that creative stuff.’

Learning how to think allows a student to take his mind and apply it to any scenario as opposed to learning what to think and not being as malleable.

Hogwarts allowed a natural development of individual knowledge to take place. If you can do the whole magic thing then you’re probably in the best classes for that. If your wand explodes after every spell then you just excel at your own pace. In normal Muggle schools, kids are thrown into classes they aren’t prepared for or even worse held back in classes that aren’t advanced enough.

In an ideal world, there’s a hat that sorts you into your respective house. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin all representing different types of people.

Hogwarts is not a utopia. Bullies, cliques, and bad grades still exist, but they are dealt with in the right way.

Sports politics and drama exist at Hogwarts. Quidditch is the football craze of the school and jocks aren’t just dreamy at Hogwarts, they’re magical (Hah, bad jokes can be funny too). Similarly to the real world, everyone goes nuts over sports and often too much focus goes towards school sports instead of class time.

Harry Potter has the role of the Seeker in the first Quidditch game, which is the equivalent of the quarterback. But I just can’t help but notice that in pretty much every Quidditch match, someone gets hurt or dies. Maybe a little less pride and concussions could help our nations test scores (think about it).

It doesn’t matter how from the Internet you are –trolls will find you, even at Hogwarts.

Internet trolls are always a pain in real life, but why not outsmart them like Harry, Ron, and Hermoine and make them look stupid.

Use some creativity to confront your troll issues. And remember don’t let those trolls get ya down.

A Letter To Peanut

Hey Darlin’,

Let’s start this party off with something I recite to you all the time. Then we can get to your dad’s sage old advice. Keep these words close – believe it or not, not everything I say is a bunch of hogwash.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

You have the brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.

You’re on your own.

And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll

decide where to go.

 

You’ll get mixed up,

of course, as you already know.

You’ll get mixed up with

Many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.

Step with care and great

Tact and remember that

Life’s A Great Balancing Act.

 

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

– Dr. Seuss

 

A Letter To Peanut

Life is an adventure little one. No matter what trials and tribulations you’re faced with in this world you will overcome them.

Humans have this terrific will power that can conquer any obstacle. It’s just that most people drown that gift with things along the way.

What things am I referring to? Well, there are the physical things. Humans seek asylum from their problems in temporary objects that fulfill immediate needs. There’s a saying ‘money can’t buy you happiness,’ and a possible response could be ‘but have you ever seen an unhappy person on a jet ski?’

The fact of the matter is you can, to a certain extent, buy happiness. You can buy a car that brings you places, a TV that gives you entertainment pleasure or new clothes that keep you warm. All of these things create happiness. But is that happiness sustainable? Usually not.

A year after you buy that car, your eyes fall upon the newly released fancy car your neighbor just bought. Your year old car looks old, grimy and is falling apart because of something called planned obsolescence that car companies use to keep selling cars every year. Comparison, greed and jealously sets in. You can’t help but want the bigger, better and faster car to get you to the places you want to go.

Don’t let comparison be the thief of creativity. Ride a bike or run to your next destination.

That TV goes from being a refreshing source of entertainment to a reliable safe haven from the world outside. Hours waste away as you consume what media throws your way.

Don’t rely on objects for joy or spend too much time using objects. Do something on your own for once – go for a run, draw a picture or stare at the stars.

Society and a hyper sexualized fashion culture tells us those perfectly confortable jeans are out of style (that’s sooo last year). A designer brand tee shirt that costs $175 does not serve the purpose of just keeping you warm, it’s a statement of class and is often a pretentious way of saying ‘I’m better than you.’ Putting other people down doesn’t get you far in life.

Don’t let others pressure you into being someone you’re not. Be yourself and create your own style.

Humans who are met with difficulties always have a choice. And that choice is to either push back against those hardships with things that indirectly address the issue at hand or to directly confront the issue using what brews inside you.

You, Peanut, will succeed. It’s 98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.

This is by no means your creed. And is unsolicited advice indeed.

But as long as you just do you and find what you need.

Kid you’ll move mountains!

 

Picture Perfect

Easter was this past weekend. That means long meals with mostly unhealthy foods and posing for family pictures every ten minutes. After all the festivities died down, Peanut goes, “Dad why are so many pictures taken?”

So I go, “ because people want to remember special moments.”

Peanut fires back, “people must have really bad memory then. There are too many pictures. People should just fully experience the moment like me. That way they can remember it better.”

In a digital world where everyone fancies themselves a photographer, the Internet might burst at the seems with crappy photos. No literally, this article says the Internet is being affected by all the E-waste online and eventually hurts us as human beings.

Moral of the story is if the last four pictures on your Instagram account are selfies chances are no one likes you. Question your existence in knowing that you’re contributing to the fall of the Internet.

Okay, enough picking on the narcissistic readers out there.

You may say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but it’s hard to justify that statement when 400 of those words would be ‘like.’ And if anyone in the audience can write 1000 words describing a selfie of theirs, please send us a message. We are genuinely curious in reading your eloquent prose.

I don’t even think Shakespeare did that but hey, maybe we have a savant in the audience.

Instead of just bashing bad photographers, I’ll give you some advice.

Take a hike.

No seriously go for a hike or take a walk. And capture what you see through the lens. Photography should exude some resemblance of what your reality is and if that reality is duck faces at the bar try mixing it up a bit.

In a world crowded with selfie sticks and duck faces, I tip the hat to those who keep real photography alive. Simple, inspiring, emotional photography. If you don’t already follow these accounts you should probably get in here: Chris Burkard, Paul Nicklen, HUNY, and Theron Humphrey.

Ansel Adams limited himself to one picture a day during some of his most creative phases. Now I know I don’t have that diligence to just take one (it’s like eating cookies or chips). All I’m saying is make it special. Make the photos you take special and you will get more from them.

If those photog accounts above didn’t motivate you enough just google ‘urban photography’ and see what comes up. It’s funny how some of the best photographs occur in the oddest of places.

Have fun and don’t forget: Shoot Responsibly

A Baby Shoe Shopping Spree

You can tell a lot about someone by just looking at his or her shoes. See where they’ve been or decipher their habits.

Peanut prefers no shoes – Embodying a free spirit attitude and laid-back lifestyle. Occasionally, Peanut does throw on some footwear in the form of comfy socks (gotta keep those babies warm). Hopefully she doesn’t grow up to wear just socks in public or be a Shoobie from Rocket Power.

I’m going to start introducing Peanut to different kinds of shoes and see which ones she likes most. Some Vans or Toms would be a fashionable choice.

If Peanut wants to wear some funky shoes, I support her decision as long as she doesn’t use the line “It’s called fashion, look it up,” which I’m sure the designers of 20 Of The Weirdest Shoes, Ever said at one point or another.

But if we’re getting down to business and jumping in puddles, she should try some cool J. Crew rain boots. If she wants to wear flip-flops, I’ll let her (just not crocs).

Crocs are off limits, no matter what. Sorry Peanut, looks like you’ll have to go barefoot if the only option is crocs. Cowboy boots on the other hand, is always a yes.

Shoes can bring together an outfit nicely and when you’re a baby it’s all about microfashion.

We went into Asics the other day because I needed some new dad running sneakers. They have baby Asics sneakers that definitely only fit babies who crawl. I’m sure the importance of arch support for toddlers is crucial, but I guess Peanut will have to learn how we all learned, sans arch.

I’m all for spoiling my kid and giving them what they want but dang man, those shoes were expensive and she can’t even crawl yet. Maybe next year missy.