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!

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

Hovercraft Parenting

The age old Helicopter Parent has since evolved into something much much worse, a ‘Hovercraft Parent.’ Modern parents have a new set of instincts that increasingly shelter their child from the daunting ‘bad’ in the world. Helicopter Parents linger over their kids, but Hovercraft Parents straight up smother them. Sweeping generalization? Perhaps…but I’ll let you be the judge.

The reality of the situation is in a world where anything can simply be Googled, there’s a spoiler alert behind every turn regardless of the how protective the parents. The efforts of Hovercraft Parents to protect their kids from bullies are futile, because they often perpetuate the problem and victimize their child.

Peanut was recently exposed to some Hovercraft Parenting and she was wondering why parents are all up in their kids’ business?

So we thought about it for a bit and we came up with a two step guide to avoid hovercraft parenting as much as possible.

** From here on, let’s call them Hovercrafters. One because it’s easier and two, let’s be honest, they’re not that good at parenting and don’t deserve that in their title. **

How To Spot A Hovercrafter

The first step is always identification. Who are these Hovercrafter and what are they all about?

They’re often the mom or dad who doesn’t stop talking about their kid. “Johnny’s on the Ivy Track and won’t be at the school field trip because he has a dance recital,” said a Hovercrafter one time (I’m sure of it). In case you didn’t know lady, Johnny eats crayons because he’s still in 2nd grade and his favorite color is 6.

Hovercrafters tend to do their kids’ homework for them and then complain to the teachers claiming they don’t teach well. Such a waste of time. The kid will grow up dependent and live in their parents’ basement for the rest of their life wondering why they never made it big.

Hovercrafters are also the ones who don’t really have social lives, so they replace that void with always being in their kids’ business. Hovercrafters try too hard. They don’t know when enough is enough and ironically, it often backfires.

Shielding a kid from something makes them want to question it even more. “Don’t tell Johnny about Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll.” Well he already pulled up the female anatomy and worse on Google. He asked an older kid about drugs and then got roped into some

How To Deal With A Hovercrafter

If Hovercrafters are spotted at kiddie playgroup telling the other kids not to make fun of Johnny’s Asthma or some other absurd Hovercrafter type activity, just steer clear. Stand back and observe. Because if you raised your kid right, they’ll handle it like a champ and other parents who think Hovercrafting is weird will naturally stand back too. Boom, best non-Hovercrafter friends you’ll ever meet.

Hovercrafters are usually hotheaded drama queens. And they fizzle out. So just do you and let the drama subside.

The best styles of parenting are 1. The right way and 2. The wrong way.

If you’re not a Heli or Hover Parent keep up the good work, you restore faith in humanity.

Befriending Two Fury Beings

Man’s best friend, they said. It would be fun, they said. Well, dogs deserve the title ‘Baby’s best friend,’ too. Peanut was surprisingly calm when meeting the two family dogs for the first time. That’s pretty impressive, considering these two giant fur balls cause a ruckus 24/7, they pride themselves on bringing small dead animals to the doorstep and jumping on top of anyone who’s really comfortable watching a movie.   That being said, the pups know when to implement their often-dwindling manners when appropriate.

Hi, Hello, How Are You

They’re the first faces you see when you walk through the door and there’s no better greeting on the planet. Let’s get down to the stats here.

Stewie, an Australian Shepard, is a Momma’s boy, loves snacks, gets jealous when other people get more attention than him and Beyoncé is his guilty pleasure. When Stewie gets excited he does a wiggle dance with his butt. He is renowned for being an alarm clock in the form of licking toes.

He is a wise intellectual canine, too. Stewie can unlock all of the doggie doors and he’s a great listener.

On the other hand there’s Moose, a big clunky Rottweiler. He always needs to be in the action, slobbering on TV remotes, chasing squirrels or scaring the shit out of the mailman. He always goes 100%. Moose looks over Peanut like Carl in those awesome Alexandra Day kid books.

Friend or Foe?

When meeting new people or being thrown into new situations, that’s when the pups’ ADHD kicks in. Stepping briefly into their minds, it would sound something like this: “IF I DEVOUR THIS PERSON, WILL DAD GIVE ME A SNACK? FRIENDS, NEW FRIENDS, I LOVE PARTIES. HE LOOKS TASTY.”

First things first, everyone should prepare themselves for where a dog will go with their nose. Yup, for some reason a dog must stick that slimy wet nose of theirs right in the most uncomfortable and rather private spots. The sniffing of the butt can last anywhere from ten seconds to a minute, but it’s gotta happen. It’s like a doggie initiation, if you will. This initial stage only happens the first couple of times you meet them, then you’re old news.

As uncomfortable as it may be, you should just go with the flow. “Hey, when you’re done sniffin’ around down there let’s play fetch and become best friends.” Would be a recommended reaction.

Have We Met Before?

The second encounter with Stewie and Moose is not as long and thorough as the first. Now, even though this is the second or third time you meet them, the pups immediately begin sniffing you, just to make sure their eyes are not playing tricks on them and you are still the “new human.” After a good sniff or two, Stewie begins to wiggle his butt due to a lack of tail. Moose, who is not as trusting as Stewie, moves from sniffing you to slobbering all over what you’re carrying. (RIP those cool new headphones that were drowned in drool). Something along the lines of ‘DOES THE NEW HUMAN HAVE SNACKS!?’ is probably going through their heads.

Oh Hey Old Friend

After taking some long walks with the dogs and letting them lick your hands after you’ve eaten, you can now consider your relationship to be more than just occasional acquaintances. When you wake up in the morning, they no longer bark at you but instead immediately begin licking feet. Instead of solely following their owners around the house, the dogs begin to pay more attention to you, laying by your feet and occasionally giving you a big lick on the cheek.

You know the two dogs care about you and have your back. Even Moose, who was wary of you for the first couple encounters, no longer hesitates when greeting you. The relationship is very comfortable at this point. He even farts when you’re both on the couch. But don’t be that guy who blames the dog.