Archive for December, 2010

Happy Holidays, everyone! I had planned to post some tips and tricks for traveling with an infant. But that was before Leigh Ann, Nate, and I endured 12 hours of security lines, unexpected layovers, and oh-my-god-I’m-gonna-die turbulence. Now I have but one tip for “traveling with an infant”:

1) Don’t.

It has nothing to do with having an infant. It has to do with traveling. Don’t do it, fool. It’s not worth it. If your relatives want to see you, they can buy the foreclosed crack house next door. Unless that’s where you purchase your crack, in which case they can buy the foreclosed crack house on the other side. If you purchase your crack from both locations, then, really, it’s time to make up your mind.

But all this talk of crack is probably obscuring the true meaning of Christmas. So let’s have a look at some folks who’ve decorated their houses in a way that shows they’re truly in the spirit. Or that they smoke crack.

More here. See you in 2011, everyone!

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Dad Perks

There are at least two things I love about being a Dad. The first is the exemption society seems to have granted me regarding personal hygiene. Didn’t shower this morning? Or brush my teeth? Or bother to put on a different ironic t-shirt? No problem, newbie Dad! We understand!

The other day I walked into our bank (in plush Beverly Hills, no less) and thanks to the security camera above the counter noticed a trail of spit-up down my back. Here was my conversation with the perfectly-coiffed teller:

HER: Anything else I can do for you, Sir?
ME (embarrassed, trying to hide): No, I think that’s it.
HER (of Nate): He’s so beautiful.

“He’s so beautiful” was all she could say. And this was not just your average spit-up. It went from my shoulder all the way down to my ass cheek. It looked like a pelican had landed on my head and crapped down my back.

But somehow I got a pass.

The second thing I love about being a Dad are moments like this:

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When I got up this morning and saw that this site had gotten over 1,000 hits in the last 24 hours, my first thought was: “Oh my God, did I accidentally post those naked pictures of myself?” By the grace of God, I did not. Instead, some kind soul on BabyCenter tooted our horn.

So welcome expecting Mommas! If you’re due in February, then you’re right about where I was when I started this blog. Feel free to have a look around. Or click here and scroll down if you want to start from the beginning.

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Finally some parenting advice in words I can understand: pictures.

From the book Safe Baby Handling Tips by David and Kelly Sopp.

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Nate got his social security card today. So he’s officially a real person. I find it odd, however, that there was a place for him to sign but instructions that he not do so until he’s 18. What does that mean? That they expect me to keep track of a 2” by 3” piece of paper until 2028? Great. I don’t know where my car keys are.

(Seriously, have you seen them?)

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If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people bragging about how smart their kid is. “My kid scored 8,000,000 on his IQ test.” “My kid did a backflip.” “My kid cured cancer.” Blah blah blah. So predictable and annoying.

But guess what my kid did? Rolled over before his 6 week birthday!

Have a look:

(And, yes, I just got iMovie.)

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Last week I doubted that daughters cause divorce. “Having a boy” and “being happy” appeared to be correlated, yes, but I wasn’t convinced that one caused the other. Well, Steven Landsburg is:

But in this case, correlation does imply causation, and here’s why: If you take 3 million people, have them all flip coins, and divide them into two groups according to whether their coins came up heads or tails, then the two groups are going to look statistically identical in every way—same average income, same average intelligence, same average height. That’s called the law of large numbers, and it works for two reasons—first, the sample size is huge, and second, coin flips are random. Now do the same thing, dividing your 3 million people according to the gender of their last-born child. The same thing happens—parents of boys are going to be statistically identical in every way to parents of girls, because you’ve still got a huge sample size and because the sex of a child is as random as a coin flip. Since everything else is equal, the only thing that can be causing the difference in divorce rates is the gender of the children.

Still, I’d like to see the cross tabs. If you adjust for all the factors that tend to make people happy (and therefore less likely to divorce) – stuff like income, education, marital status, health, etc. – is the effect still present? In other words, do married women with $100,000 jobs, and Master’s degrees, and husbands, and clean bills of health, and daughters still get divorced more often than women with $100,000 jobs, and Master’s degrees, and husbands, and clean bills of health, and sons?

If so, then I will quietly begin to weep.

One tangent before I change a diaper: a number of studies suggest that boy fetuses are more likely to miscarry under times of stress. Natural and social catastrophes (like 9/11), unemployment, extremely hot climates, and poor diets have all been show to lower the boy to girl birth ratio. Call women “the weaker sex” all you want, but exactly the opposite is true in the womb. Boy fetuses need more support and are less likely to survive without it. Might this tie back into the notion that parents of boys are happier on average than parents of girls? If they’re less likely to live in high stress environments or have experienced any of the above calamities, then it would make sense.

Now, on to yellow-green poop.

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Pot, Kettle

Remember last week when my in-laws vowed to prevent a single dime of their tax money from going to bail out California? And I kindly pointed out (in my head at least) that if they wanted to rally against blood-sucking-leech-states, their protests could start a little closer to home?

Well, someone else has noted the same:

It isn’t surprising that the more Republican a state leans, the more likely it is to be furious about government spending. But what is surprising is that states with the highest anti-spending sentiment appear to be the largest beneficiaries of government spending. Not only do red states swallow the lion’s share of government spending, but Richardson found a linear relationship between the extent of GOP support in a state—and, by implication, the fervor of its anti-government sentiment—and the amount of federal largesse the state receives.

The 28 states where George W. Bush won more than 50 percent of the vote in 2004 received an average of $1.32 for every dollar contributed. The 19 states where Bush received less than 50 percent of the vote collected 93 cents on the dollar.

Strange, isn’t it? It’s almost as if there were some deep psychological need to outwardly bash the things one secretly needs and desires.


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They Grow Up So Fast

On one level, watching this video is like piloting a time machine. One another, it makes you wonder what kind of person poses their kid for a photograph every day for ten years? Focus on the former, I guess, when you watch it . . .

(hat tip: The Daily What)

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I guess it’s a good thing we had a boy:

Oh, No: It’s a Girl!

If you want to stay married, three of the most ominous words you’ll ever hear are “It’s a girl.” All over the world, boys hold marriages together, and girls break them up.

In the United States, the parents of a girl are nearly 5 percent more likely to divorce than the parents of a boy. The more daughters, the bigger the effect: The parents of three girls are almost 10 percent more likely to divorce than the parents of three boys.

Hard to believe, but it doesn’t stop there. The few surveys of parental happiness I found on the web show that mothers of sons are “happier” on average than mothers of girls. And unmarried couples are more likely to tie the knot if they learn their unborn child will be a boy. And, as if that weren’t enough, divorced women with daughters have a harder time remarrying.

The question is why. Are daughters really such an albatross? Do sons really cause happiness?

Slate’s Steven E. Landsburg kicks the tires on some explanations. Maybe men stick around to raise their sons? Or maybe women stay with men so their sons can have fathers? Or maybe it’s the “everybody stays happy” theory: Dad invests in making son happy; so Mom invests in making Dad happy; so everybody stays pretty happy.

On the other hand, it could be that sons are more vulnerable to the effects of divorce, thus raising the stakes of splitting up. You want your kid to wear a trench coat and skin cats? Leave his mother. Or maybe women with daughters depend less on their husbands emotionally? Why bother talking to that blob on the couch playing Halo when you can go shopping with your daughter?

Either way, I’m probably the wrong person to make sense of this. I love just about everything there is to love about women. The way they walk, talk, think, feel, smell, taste, smile, cry – all of it. The first 25 years of my life, in fact, were a love affair with women in general. The last 10 have been a love affair with one woman in particular. So when you tell me that bringing a woman into the world ruins your life, I call bullshit. That’s like someone telling me that Ben & Jerry’s tastes bad. No. No, it doesn’t.

Could it be there’s something else going on?

Rich Mother’s Have More Sons

Rich, married and well-educated women tend to have more sons while those who are unhealthy and poorer tend to have more daughters, according to a study.

Researchers studied 50 million people and found that mothers in ‘good condition’ – those who were married, better educated and younger – bore more sons than mothers in ‘poor condition’.

I am no number cruncher. The last math course I took was freshmen year of college, and I still have recurring nightmares about trying to operate a TI-85. But if nature really does hedge its bets this way, then why is everyone so surprised that women with sons are happier on average than those with daughters? Of course they’re happier. They’re statistically more likely to be rich, married, well-educated, well-fed, and healthy. The whole thing about their kid having a penis has nothing to do with it.

With some luck, one of the 3 people who read this blog is a closet statistician and can tell us if the “daughters cause divorce” phenomenon holds true when you adjust for the parent’s income, education level, marital status, etc.

Because I’m guessing it doesn’t. And until I see otherwise, I’m going to assume that the sex of the kid you have doesn’t determine whether or not you have a happy marriage.

Your marriage does.

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