Fatherhood: Gear Guide

As some of you may know, I became a dad this year.

It’s a pretty intense experience, so I wanted to record  some thoughts and encouragements for future and current new dads.  With luck, this series may contain more than one post in the future.

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Gear:  Let’s start off easy and non-emotional.  This is by no means a comprehensive list (of which there are plenty out there), but just some of the items that we have found useful for the first few months of parenthood.

  1. Nosefrida Snotsucker + Nasal Saline Spray – Weird name, works awesome. Congested baby = unhappy baby.  Be forewarned, your baby may _really_ not like the process, but you can’t argue with the results.  Strictly better than bulb aspirators.
  2. Wifi Cameras + TinyCam Pro (Android) / Baby Monitor (iOS) – We use a mass market Wifi camera as our video baby monitor.  Pairing it with one of the apps above (need to pay a few bucks for the unlocked versions) allows us to get video and audio feeds on our phones.  Utilize squelch (audio threshold) to filter out the fussing and only hear the real cries.  Pros:  Cheaper than traditional systems. Easily expandable to more than one camera.  Doesn’t need to be linked to the internet.  Cons:  audio quality is only passable.  Can lag if your Wifi network is overloaded. Proper setup can require a little googling.
  3. Baby bottle “lawns” – It seems like one of those ridiculous, unnecessary baby items, but it really does make it easier to keep all of the baby bottle / breast pump parts in one place
  4. Dimmable light – Stubbing your toe in the dark sucks.  Having a dimmable light/nightlight allows you to keep it dark enough to sleep, but light enough to see when you need to stagger over to baby.
  5. Foam Roller + Lacrosse Ball + Massage Stick – if your baby requires significant rocking to go to sleep, you will need to take care of your body.  Protip:  Toss a lacross ball into a stocking leg to make massaging the those hard to reach shoulder muscles easier.
  6. Pillows / Boppy / My Brest Friend – Some people swear by the last two.  In the early weeks, MBF was too finicky, and the baby would slip in between the Boppy and mom.  Cheap firm pillows worked better for us.  Costco has a 2pack of memory foam cluster pillows for $10 (just make sure to air them out for a day or two).  As baby has gotten larger, the Boppy has certainly earned its place next to our bed.
  7. Baby Sleep (Android) – Free white noise App.
  8. Some sort of Baby Diary App – Useful in the beginning when you really want to track diaper counts.  As the baby gets older you’ll also want to start tracking sleep schedules
  9. 3M Avagard – Hand sanitizer with moisturizer.  A bit of a splurge, but very handy when you’re changing your 3rd consecutive dirty diaper and feeling too tired to walk over to the sink again.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizers dry out your hands like crazy and babies make a lot of poo.
  10. Headlamp – Did I mention that babies poo all the time?  You want to make sure they are clean down there, but how do you do that when it’s the middle of the night and the nightlight barely allows you to see the baby much less the poo on the baby?  The headlamp is your friend.  You may look like a silly when wearing it, but the only other person who will see you is your spouse and s/he already knows how silly you look anyways.  Plus it’s hands free.
  11. Cloth diapers for burp cloths and changing stations – They are super absorbent, which is just what you need.
  12. Baby Earmuffs – protect those little ears from loud noises once you start taking them to events.
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Oh hey look, a Squirrel!

I can’t tell if the racism is a distraction for the sexism is a distraction for the anti-semitism is a distraction for the corruption (1) is a distraction for Paul Ryan’s plan to dismantle the social safety net (privitization of medicare/medicaid/social security) is a distraction for the climate change skepticism is a distraction for the intimidation of the press is a distraction for the intimidation of free speech is a distraction for the pettiness is a distraction for the nepotism is a distraction for the deregulation is a distraction for the regressive tax agenda is a distraction for the anti-immigration stance is a distraction for the discrimination against Muslims is a distraction for the Russian interference is a distraction for the Trump University settlement and other pending cases is a distraction for the lack of a hearing for Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland is a distraction for the death of truth (1), self-consistency , and coherent public discourse….

…and I feel like I’ve missed at least 5 other things, which just goes to show you how distracted I am and how effective their ploy was.

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Hello old friend…

I’m back.  For a little while, at least.

I won’t lie.  This election was deeply unsettling and upsetting.  For the first time in a long while, I was reminded that I was _not_ an American, i.e. a caucasian-American, but merely the other.  If not the intruder or the unwanted, then at the very least, the not-worth-giving-a-damn.

I am lucky and thankful that my ethnicity, my location, and my community have spared me from the outbursts of racist vitriol happening across the country.  We have sown with indifference to and normalization of racist, sexist, and xenophobic language and images; and emboldened hate-mongers are the whirlwind that we must now reap.  And in horrific non-irony, it is the GOP that has sown, but it is minorities and women upon whom the whirlwind has descended.  I pray that these hate crimes do not continue, and I do hope and believe that the majority of Trump voters condemn these events as well.  But even if the veneer of respectability were to be restored again, the festering underbelly of racism and sexism in this country has been made plain for all to see, as well as our adamant refusal to actually grapple with it.

To be honest, I don’t know what to do with what I’m feeling and how to channel it.  Or even know what exactly what it is.  So even though it feels a bit self-indulgent, perhaps it is time for me to dust off ye ole blog for now.  To process, to post, and to journey alongside of others.


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