Cooking With TechyDad: Sneaky Weeky Preparations

Shhhh….. Be vewy vewy quiet! I’m bein’ sneaky. huh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh

Thank you, Elmer. I hereby declare this week Sneaky Weeky at I’m going to use this week to celebrate The Sneaky Chef in both book review form and in three segments of Cooking With TechyDad (the first of which starts in a few moments). So please join with me as I slink into the kitchen to cook a few sneaky meals.

*sneaks into the kitchen*

» Read more

How To Tire A Kid in 3 Easy Steps

So you say that bedtime is approaching but your kid doesn’t want to go to sleep? It’s nice out so you want to give them some fresh air. Well, here’s how to tire out a kid in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Bike Riding

Prodigious pushing of pedals will poop his pulkes (and the rest of his legs as well).


Step 2: Racing

Running is always a good way to tire out a tot.


Step 3: Tag

Of course, a good game of tag can get your kid running in circles until he (or she) is ready to hit the hay. (Side note: Yes, I know I said “I’m it”, but NHL was “it”. Luckily, he knew what I meant.)


End Result: Peacefully Sleeping Kid

Tired NHL

Jenny McCarthy, Vaccines, and Botox

Jenny McCarthy has long been at the forefront of the anti-vaccine movement. Despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, she continues to insist that vaccines are linked to autism. The method seems to change as each method suggested gets shot down, but still too many parents keep their children unvaccinated and exposed to dangerous diseases.  I won’t go into the reasons why the anti-vaccine crowd is wrong.  I’ll leave that to Bad Astronomy.  However, if there’s one thing I don’t like it’s hypocracy and I just found what I consider to be a big pile of it.  Jenny McCarthy doesn’t like vaccines, but apparently, she’s a fan of Botox.  Something just seems wrong to me about this.  She doesn’t like vaccine injections for fear of medical repurcussions, but she is fine with getting Bubonic Plague injected directly into her face?  Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds that odd.

EDIT: Charlie Young over at Bad Astronomy has corrected me:  "Botox is derived from the toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and bubonic plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. So even though she is getting injected with a powerful paralytic neurotoxin, it is not the plague."

Fair enough.  Still, though, being injected with a paralytic neurotoxin just to ward off a few wrinkles is better than getting a vaccine to ward off a debilitating illness?  Not in my book.

The Scariest Moments of My Life

If being a parent has taught me anything, it’s that your scariest moments in life will always involve your children.  Thinking back to my pre-parent/pre-married days, my scariest moments involved asking a girl out.  It seemed scary at the time, but it was nothing compared to my children’s Top Four (listed below in chronological order):

1.  NHL’s Febrile Seizure:  It was July 2004.  We had just moved into our new house and we were one month away from NHL’s first birthday.  We were supposed to visit my grandmother downstate, but the weekend was *NOT* going well.  B’s beloved cockatoo, Moose, had taken ill suddenly and passed away literally in her arms.  We stayed up late that night digging a grave for him and B was understandably distraught, so we cancelled our trip.  In hindsight, it was a good thing.

NHL was playing on the floor like he usually did.  I picked him up and happened to brush my hand across his forehead.  It was burning hot.  I remember getting the feeling that, if I didn’t remove my hand from his head, it would be burnt.  Yes, he was burning up so much it triggered my "fire hot" response!  We took his temp and it was 103 (if memory serves).  We called the doctor and he said to strip him, give him Motrin and Tylenol, and put him in a lukewarm tub.  We did all that.  While I sponged lukewarm water on his body, B went off to find a towel.  I felt NHL’s forehead again and felt it get very hot, very fast.  I called for B and she came in.  He looked up at her, but there was no recognition in his eyes.  Then his eyes rolled back and his head slumped backwards.  I quickly lifted him out of the tub and SCARY MOMENT #1 began.

NHL was lifeless in my arms.  I seriously thought he was dead.  He began to turn blue as we put him on our bed.  Then he began to twitch.  B frantically called 911.  I felt useless.  There was my baby in front of me in serious trouble and I couldn’t do anything to help.  I searched my memory for something, ANYTHING that I could do.  I remembered something about not letting them swallow their tongue.  (Yes, now I know this can’t happen, but I didn’t know at the time.)  I pried his clenched jaws open and tried to move his tongue out.

By the time the emergency personnel came, NHL had started breathing again, though he wasn’t conscious.  We got into the ambulance and headed to the hospital, B in back with NHL, me in the front.  Hearing NHL scream bloody murder never sounded so good.  It turned out that he had Koksaki virus.  That caused the fever which triggered the febrile seizure.  That night B passed out from the sheer exhaustion of the weekend’s events, but I couldn’t sleep.  I’d look down at NHL sleeping next to us and could feel myself getting more anxious every time his fever went up and less anxious every time it went down.  Luckily, after a few days, his fever broke and he was ok.

2.  JSL’s First Febrile Seizure:  One night, last February, after NHL was asleep, we noticed that JSL was running a fever.  We called the doctor and B’s parents.  They got in first and the doctor recommended the same course of action that he did the night of NHL’s seizure.  I objected to the tub since that’s when NHL seized, but I was reassured that it would help his fever.  Nevertheless, I insisted that B have a towel at the ready and not stray from the tub.

JSL went in the tub and after some time splashing, my worst fears came true and SCARY MOMENT #2 began.  JSL began to seize.  We picked him up, but he decided to one up his brother.  Instead of turning blue, like NHL, he turned grey.  He also stopped breathing (like NHL did), but didn’t start breathing again on his own.  As my mother-in-law did rescue breaths on him, I ran from the front door (looking for the already-called-for-ambulance) and the bedroom where JSL lay.  My father-in-law offered to look out the door for me.  He meant well but he didn’t seem to understand.  I needed to *DO* something.  Even if that something was completely useless.  If I wasn’t doing something, then I’d be just staring at my baby’s lifeless body and I couldn’t take that at the moment.

Finally, JSL started breathing again and the emergency personnel came.  They took JSL to the hospital.  I followed in my car with my mother-in-law.  My father-in-law stayed at our house to look after the still-sleeping NHL.  We spent the entire night in the ER.  Literally.  At around 4am we were given a room at the pediatric ward.  They didn’t know what was wrong and wanted to keep him under observation.  It worried them that he didn’t begin breathing again on his own.  For the next 4 days, that room was B and JSL’s home.  Finally, an ear infection showed itself and could be treated.

3. JSL’s Fall:  JSL has had a lot of self-inflicted head injuries.  Whether it be him trying to head-butt someone/something, or just trying to run faster than he can, he seems to have a bullseye on his forehead.  This usually results in a gooseegg, a short screaming session, and then another daring-do JSL run.  This December 2008 night, though, was different.  We were at B’s parent’s house with a bunch of her family.  Dinner had already been eaten and we were playing for a bit before dessert.  JSL was running after B’s father with only socks on his feet.  They ran into the kitchen and we heard a loud klunk!  B’s father came in carrying JSL and said he went up in the air and hit the back of his head.  (This Charlie Brown and the Football.)

He cried for me so I tried to soothe him.  That didn’t work.  So we figured that dessert would be a good distraction.  He refused chocolate.  Now we knew something was definitely up.  SCARY MOMENT #3 was about to begin.  B’s grandmother mentioned that JSL looked pale and then, as the rest of us concurred, he spaced out.  Seriously spaced out.  We took him into the kitchen, kept NHL occupied in the family room with the TV, and called 911.  Tons of emergency workers came out of the snow outside and filled up my in-law’s house.  As they prepared to take JSL to the hospital, B slipped on a wet bootprint and jammed her hand.  It wasn’t serious, but it’d hurt her for some time to come.

B and JSL went in the ambulence while I went in the car.  As I pulled out, and the ambulence pulled away, a neighbor of my in-laws stopped me to ask what was going on.  I quickly told her but then excused myself because the ambulence was getting away.  The ambulence wound through a bunch of side streets and I did my best to keep up.  Did I mention that it had just snowed?  No?  Well, it did.  The roads were really slick and I was afraid that I’d wind up slamming into a parked car while trying to follow the ambulence.

By the time I got to the hospital and got in to see B and JSL, JSL was finally alert.  They examined him and determined that his fall had given him a concussion.  After awhile, he was walking around the ER both to our delight (he’s ok!) and fright (he’s wearing socks on slick tile flooring!!!).

4.  JSL’s Second Seizure:  This one is probably my scariest moment ever for the simple facts that it: Happened only a few days ago (Saturday night) and involved choking which scares me to death.  We had bought a new bike and helmet for NHL and were trying the helment on to see if it was too small.  (It is.)  While we were doing this, JSL was playing on the floor about 2 feet away.  Suddenly JSL leaned forward and grunted.  I first thought he was pooping.  He hadn’t gone all day and could be constipated.  Then, B realized that he wasn’t pooping.  "He’s CHOKING!" She shouted.  Queue SCARY MOMENT #4!  I ran off to get a phone while B did the heimlich manuver and administered back blows.  We had no idea what he could be choking on, but whatever it was wasn’t coming out.  I called 911 and told them my child was choking.  JSL wasn’t responding and was quickly turning blue.

NHL, spared from the previous JSL scares by sleep or TV, was a full witness to this one.  He saw his little brother go limp and lifeless.  He saw JSL foam at the mouth.  He saw Mommy and Daddy panic as JSL wouldn’t respond.  He saw Mommy try to pry open JSL’s mouth to work her fingers inside.  She managed to do it, but then he clamped down again, trapping her fingers in his mouth.

I opened the door and looked out for the ambulence.  No sign of them.  From experience, I knew they were less than 5 minutes away, but suddenly 5 minutes seemed like an eternity.  Finally, I heard a siren.  I ran inside to tell B that the police were here.  NHL ran to the door and shouted at the officer:  "He’s here!  He’s here!  My little brother’s right there!"  The officer didn’t seem to do much to help, but luckily the emergency room personell came soon after.  They flooded the room and I was quickly pushed away from B and JSL by the crowd.  I put NHL on the couch to get him out of the way.

In a display of 5 year old coping mechanism, NHL shifted from being worried about his brother’s well-being to being upset that he couldn’t see the TV.  Then, after B’s parents arrived and were getting him ready to go to their house, he began crying.  He was upset that he’d miss Hebrew school tomorrow!  5 year old coping again.  Your mind can’t handle the big issue so focus on a small one.

B’s father took NHL to his house while B’s mother and I went to the hospital.  By this point, we knew he wasn’t choking.  After all, he would have been unconscious long before the first responders showed up.  In hind-sight, the seizure signs were all there:  Clenched jaw, convulsions (though seizing up muscles, not twitching which threw us), foaming at the mouth, etc.  Our only question was whether this was a febrile seizure (he didn’t seem sick before) or due to some head injury (see SCARY MOMENT #3).

At the hospital, we got our answer.  They took JSL’s temperature and it was 103.5.  That pointed to a febrile seizure.  They listened to his chest and looked in his ears but couldn’t figure out why he had a fever.  After some prompting, they looked in his mouth, but didn’t find anything.  They also didn’t do any blood tests.  Instead, they gave JSL some Motrin and sent us on our way.  Rest assured that an angry phone call is planned.

That’s the end of SCARY MOMENT #4, but not the end of the story.  For the rest of the story, head on over to B’s blog and read: 13 Months later – the nightmare returns, Two febrile seizures in less than 30 hours, and Spring FEVER update.

Your Spouse is Not A Child

Tyler, from Building Camelot tweeted about an article titled Parenting techniques to try on your Spouse by Fernanda Moore.  In it, the author, upset that her husband hasn’t filled the ice trays, decides to try five parenting techniques that she has used on her children on her husband.  Overall, I found the article quite insulting in that it depicted husbands as being unable to do anything unless the wife "manages" them.  Marriage should be a partnership, not one member controlling the other member’s actions.  (Think about how insulted people would get if the article was a husband using parenting techniques to control his wife’s behavior.)  With a bit of modification, though, these rules might actually work.

Strategy No. 1: Reward good behavior

When my wife and I were first married, our lives revolved around each other.  I was the most important person in her life and she was the most important person in mine.  When NHL was born, it was a transition for me to accept that I was no longer #1.  I wasn’t even #2 (my wife was).  I was #3.  As time went on, I felt myself slipping down the ladder of importance even more.  At times, it seems that I only get my wife’s full attention is when I mess something up or don’t do it at all.  If I do something well, I sometimes feel like I might as well be invisible.

I would love for my "good behavior" to be rewarded, however, Mrs. Moore used it to control her husbands actions.  When she got to sleep in one morning, she rewarded her husband’s good behavior (by praising him) in an attempt to get him to "perform properly" more times.  (i.e. Get him to allow her to sleep in more often.)  When he didn’t "perform right" (he inquired about alternating weekends) she got angry that her attempts to control his actions didn’t work.

A proper use of this strategy would involve praising good behavior without expecting your spouse to "perform right."  If a spouse (or anyone for that matter) is praised when they get it right, it helps to offset the times when they don’t and helps the relationship overall.

Strategy No. 2: Keep it brief

In this strategy, she insults her husband’s intellect by assuming that he can only perform an action if she sets up the entire thing (puts everything in place, puts the tools out, etc) and gives him short, simple commands ("Baby gates? Today? Install?").  For a child, yes, they might understand the shorter commands better, but husbands are not children.  We do have adult-level intellects and will resent being treated like babies.  A better modification of this might be to keep your "honey do" list brief.  Don’t ask us to fix every last little thing, especially when we’re not in a position to do it right away, and then complain when we don’t do it all.  Strategy #1 applies here as well.  If you ask us to do 10 things and we do 9 of them, praise us for the 9 we did, don’t ignore those and berate us for the 1 we didn’t do.

Strategy No. 3: The time-out

Here’s where Mrs. Moore got ridiculous.  During an argument, she tried to apply the Time Out principal to her husband and yelled at him "go to your room."  She quickly realized that there was no way for her to force her husband into his room for a timeout.  She just doesn’t have that kind of authority over him.  (Neither would he have that authority over her.)  In the end, she "modified" the rule so that she confined herself to their room for awhile.  Perhaps this is the better application of a "time out."  If you sense that an argument is getting too heated, take a time out.  It is better to cool off for awhile than to say something that you’ll regret later.  (And, if an argument is heated enough, you *will* say something you regret.)

Strategy No. 4: Give quality time to get quality time

In this strategy, she wants to take a bath and he wants to play a game with her.  She tries distraction and various other techniques to get out of it, but finally decides to give him 15 minutes in an attempt to placate him enough so that he won’t object to time by herself.  Now I won’t deny my wife her "me" time.  I need "me" time every now and then also.  However, as a husband, I could also use some time with my wife where we aren’t acting as parents but as just husband and wife.  And no, the time doesn’t need to be spent doing activities that are X-rated in nature… not that those are bad, mind you.

As I said before, I sometimes feel like I’m at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to my wife.  I’m sure she feels the same way with me from time to time.  It would be nice to have a little quality time with each other.  And it would be nice if that quality time was, unlike Mrs. Moore’s, not an attempt to do the bare minimum required to placate me.

Strategy No. 5: Creative discipline

In this one, Mrs. Moore sits down with her "disobedient" husband (guity of the crime of being late) to "figure out together how he should atone and, ultimately, change the behavior."  In some ways, this is good:  They sit down and have a talk about the situation instead of her yelling at him for being late every day.  If the discussion is phrased properly, this can actually be a good thing.  However, Mrs. Moore’s intention was to use this discussion time not to work out their differences, but to bring his behavior back in line with what she demands.  In other words, he’s nothing more than a disobiedient child to her that she needs to lecture about doing what she tells him to do.  The discussion should be a discussion of equals, not a "parent spouse" talking to the "child spouse."

In the end, only twisting the rules around makes them a good idea.  As employed by Mrs. Moore, the rules are insulting and demeaning.  Instead of treating your husband (or wife) like a child whose behavior needs to be carefully controlled, why not treat them like an equal partner in the marriage?  Sit down and talk calmly with them.  Spend some quality, non-parent time with them.  Let them know when things that they do make you happy.  But never, ever, think of them as a disobedient child.

1 18 19 20 21 22