Dad for Beginners - Page 2 of 14 - Amateurism at its best Dad for Beginners - Page 2 of 14 - Amateurism at its best

Dad for Beginners

Amateurism at its best


March 24, 2017
by Creed

How to Identify Illness and Care for a Sick Child

There is a lot to complain about as a new parent. The daily routine of keeping your child alive is a difficult task. Moreover, there is a laundry list of items that can complicate it. One of the more irritating, painful, and exhausting experiences for a parent is trying to cure a sick child. Children get sick for the same reasons adults do, the only real difference is that a child, particularly a baby, cannot articulate their pain or symptoms. This is where you as the parent have to be nothing short of a magician in healing them. Channel your shaman-esque mystical healing powers because truly, caring for a small child who’s sick requires superhuman strength.

In much the same way adults fall ill, so to do kids. The relative immunity of children is surprisingly strong given they’ve been exposed to so little throughout their brief lifespan. However, when a child does fall ill, there isn’t initially an abundance of ways to identify it. Babies and young children are inherently needy creatures and so when a child is wailing, often times the legitimate reason is simply no reason at all. Kids wail. That is a well-established fact.

In identifying illness in a child, often times it is through the variety of bodily fluids excreted from their many orifices. Children are leaky. That’s probably an engineering flaw in the intelligent design that’s never really corrected over time…only controlled to a greater degree as they age. However, the color and consistency of bodily fluids leaking from the many cracks and crevices of a child are often an indicator of illness. Typically as a parent you’ll develop a certain expectation for the mucus and discharge oozing from your child’s holes since you see it and clean it literally every few hours. Over time, you’ll become keenly aware of when some bodily substance is slightly off, whether it’s a bit discolored or sludgy or slimy. It is in this way that identifying sickness in a child isn’t entirely different from diagnosing a malfunctioning vehicle. By cleaving to the normalcy of your child’s daily leaks, you can better hone your ability as a ‘mechanic of the flesh’ and be aware instantly of when a seemingly benign bodily substance may need a higher degree of attention.

Aside from the mucus and pus seeping from your child’s body, there are countless other physical clues to help you in diagnosing your child’s illness. Most of these clues involve screeching or crying at a higher-than-average-volume. Because young children cannot vocally articulate where or why something hurts it is their natural instinct to just scream uncontrollably until you, the parent, do something about it. After what’s assuredly been several months’ worth of sustained noisiness anyway, you’ll be surprisingly well-connected to recognizing the sound of an “I’m sick” scream. In much the same way whales communicate through a variety of multi-frequency pulses, you too can navigate the physical pain of your child using only the prolonged wails of agony to identify potential illness.

In your quest to answer this question and ease the pain your child is experiencing, you’ll notice behavioral symptoms as well that can help you even further pursue the proper course of action. Similar to the routine handling of bodily fluids, the routine behavioral cues of your child will change as well when he or she is sick. Whether it be through a lack of play, a change in sleep habits, a refusal to eat, or an impromptu reenactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, something your child will do will be out of the ordinary and will symbolize a need for medical intervention.

It is common for parents of a sick child to immediately think that a doctor or even a hospital visit is mandatory when a child falls ill. This, in fact, cannot be further from the truth. Children are strong, rugged, and built for endurance kind of like a jeep. There are various at-home, do-it-yourself cures a quick search through the interweb will reveal, usually involving things you already have in your own home. Old world remedies work great in these situations and are often times solutions your own parents used that may or may not have gone out of style. It’s a little known fact that the most effective way to cure the common cold in an infant is to rub vodka all over their naked skin and sacrifice a cantaloupe beneath a full moon. Look it up.

The most important thing to remember in these situations is not to panic. All children fall ill at some point, just like all adults. It is normal and natural and in many instances, actually healthy to be sick on occasion. The late George Carlin once recollected that the reason he never received a polio vaccine was because he grew up swimming in the polluted East River near New York City and was thus immune to virtually everything. In a similar fashion, children possess a far greater physical strength to illness than adults most likely because their bodies have not yet been compromised by the unhealthy and damaging “recreations” that we grown-people indulge in so much. The best thing you can do for your child is to let him or her sleep and attend to the tidal force of neediness as it comes. Odds are he or she is fine and if not, then certainly your insurance company offers a reasonable deductible for infant services.


March 13, 2017
by Creed

Be Your Own Manager

Modern adults are enthralled with their professional achievements. Professional upward mobility along with job title has become a source of solace for huge numbers of people, so much so that entire social networking mediums exist for people to bombast their professional achievements under the guise of ‘professional networking.’ Entire personal identities are wrapped up in work. In everyday discussions between strangers, particularly men, the question ‘what do you do?’ is often one of the first topics broached. People in general (but especially men in particular) find a bizarre pleasure in self-identifying based on the means they use to accrue currency. This tends to be a function of the managerial sector more so than anything else, as you’ll rarely hear someone bragging about their position as a cashier at Chevron or a drug lord.

The middle management class has grown exponentially over the last hundred years with more and more people acquiring work just slightly above the blue collar laboring class but still well below the affluent upper crust. This group of people is the middle management sector, a group that social economist Henry George once suggested shouldn’t exist at all in industrial society. However, middle managers are critical to greasing the wheels of capitalism. They don’t do any of the work nor do they reap any of the benefits. They are middle men in the truest sense of the word, taking instruction from above and delegating it down. For their role as the buffer between the capitalist uber class and the hourly wage slaves, they typically earn a moderate $50 – $70k, which is plenty to live on but not plenty to live comfortably on.

The strangest evolution of these middle management plebeians is the immense amounts of pride they take in their roles as the intersection between the rich and the poor. Using their titles (and possibly the hubris of whatever tiny amounts of power they do have) they’ve crafted an entire social space of pseudo-elitism based solely on their titles as ‘manager.’ It’s now become a cultural underpinning of managerial society in general to feel proud of the moderate accomplishment of ascending even a few rungs up the proverbial ladder.

But where does this pride come from? Surely none of these people are fulfilling their childhood dream of Restaurant Manager or Human Resources Manager or Operational Excellence Continuous Improvement Lean Manufacturing Line Quality Resource Manager. The titles are stupid, contrived, and completely made up. No child dreams to be a manager. No one does nor should they. If you look around other segments of society for ‘managers,’ what you very often find is a person who’s given a job because they’re not capable of excelling beyond the title of ‘manager.’ In football, quarterbacks who are referred to as ‘game managers’ are often those quarterbacks not entrusted to adequately run a prolific offense and are holding the position only insofar as they don’t severely jack something up. While the other players surrounding them pick up the slack, the ‘game manager’ quarterback hands off the ball, throws short routes, and tries his best not to fuck something up. That’s a game manager.

The typical ability of a manager in a business sense is not that far removed from the ‘game manager’ description of a mediocre-but-not-totally-terrible NFL quarterback. After all, if a business manager in any capacity were truly gifted, they’ve have grown past the title of manager. What you very often find, however, are individuals holding the title of ‘manager’ who are well into their 40s, 50s, and 60s – even up until retirement. Oddly enough, these older managers very commonly express the same inexplicable pride for their jobs as the younger generation of managers. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me where the esteem in being a 55-year-old Food & Beverage Manager is – I simply cannot understand it.

If you make a quick pass through LinkedIn, you can get a fun visual example of how the simple act of acquiring income as a manager of some aspect of a business has become an entire social subculture based on literally nothing but job title. People of all ages scream their titles from the high heavens at one another, as if to say “I’m somebody.”

So proud of their suspiciously average accomplishments, most of these managers are barely fit to manage their own personal finances, much less drive a successful business while concurrently maintaining morale amongst a group of subordinates. Despite all the fanfare these managers bestow upon themselves and their colleagues for the moderate levels of success they’ve achieved, most are quite literally incapable of running efficient departments, motivating their staff, driving revenue, or (most importantly) keeping their upward mobility moving. They’re stuck as managers – most of them – forever, and in a bizarre twist of professional irony, they seem entirely okay with it.

Because the simple act of being called ‘manager’ now carries with it a unique prestige, people seem content with occupying this category and serving out years and years in these roles. They’ll couch it in different terms, perhaps as an act of emotional comfort for themselves, by saying they’re building experience, strengthening their resume, or acquiring seniority in their company. Those who find themselves unable to advance professionally will say they’re focusing on family or they’ll lie outright, saying that they are actually happy in their jobs and do not want to advance. This is the most dangerous realization for the management class – when they realize they’ve hit their ceiling and instead of pushing forward in a different direction, they’ll use happiness as a justification to explain why they’ve been a Hiring Manager for twelve years. No manager is happy as a manager in the same capacity for years on end, do not believe these people.

More importantly, do not believe these people, the ones who populate the sick LinkedIn demographic, that suggest being a manager at any level is a position of prestige and should be desired. Working in a management capacity should be a last-ditch avenue for those who have totally failed to achieve their dreams. There is nothing more tragic than seeing bright and intelligent young people of conscious who pursue higher education in the fields of business management, human resource administration, or hospitality, but that’s a post for another day.


March 11, 2017
by Creed

Dumpster Fire: Social Media and Adults, pt. 2. – Facebook

Facebook, in short, is human experience gone berserk. And adults are to blame. Through the years, Facebook has taken on a variety of guises and has seemingly gone through epochs of existence. Facebook of yore was an archaic digital ‘ high school yearbook’ that served no other purpose besides connecting virtually with people you were already friends with in real life anyway. As a natural development of this, it began to include photos shared in a very yearbook-esque fashion. Along with the rudimentary networking functions were the personal biographies, likes, and personal favorite quotes in the ‘about’ section.

As Facebook became more and more advanced, it became a tool for the sharing of larger ideas, advanced networking, and social commentary. Nowadays, Facebook is far more than an online family photo album to share with the handful of people you know and love in real life. Instead, Facebook is now a platform for broadcasting the most envy-inducing side of your family or lifestyle in order to create a fictional fantasyland depicting your existence as meaningful and fulfilling. Initially, the subconscious purpose of this was the show those you befriended in the digital world how perfect your life was. By showcasing only the finer moments in your life, anyone could manufacture happiness for presentation to their friends. However, this continued fabrication of one’s rich and fruitful lifestyle, however false it may be, now allows people to view their own fake timelines as direct correlations of their actual lives and thus, their actual happiness. Essentially, oversharing on Facebook, although it began as a means to show off to others, is now just as much so a means to show off to yourself. There is a prevailing undercurrent of pseudologia fantastica that runs subtly within virtually every active member’s feed. That is, they’re consoling themselves emotionally by believing the feigned happiness they created which was originally designed to impress others.

While certainly Facebook is now a viable medium for everything from pop culture to comedy to recipes to current events, it’s still the forceful oversharing of feigned prosperity that hangs like a cloud over almost everyone’s personal timeline. No matter what news, sports, businesses, charities, or vocational trades a person ‘likes’ on Facebook, everyone’s personal timeline is still peppered with the blissful nostalgia of themselves, their friends, and their family. This is an unavoidable aspect of Facebook and so long as one maintains real life friendships in the virtual world, it will persist.

Facebook is not to blame for this trend of vainglory. Most certainly Facebook has an abundance of functions and business purposes that are real and meaningful. We can find art and culture, economics, politics, and entertainment media there just as we can anywhere else on the internet. Facebook brings that all together for us in one convenient location and is malleable, simply by what we do or do not choose to ‘like.’ Where this becomes problematic is in how easily the Facebook fact-viewing experience can be tailored to a specific worldview. For example, the biases that exist in news media are no secret but given the short ‘clip-show’ nature of Facebook content, particularly video, we can make our proverbial blinders that much more blinding by choosing to only ‘like’ the news sources that pander to our cultural worldview. Of course, we view the media in such brief intervals that we get virtually no facts at all. Instead, we get an extremely rapid and opinionated two-minute clip that is guaranteed to meet our sociopolitical approval because we’ve ‘liked’ sources we know will align with our beliefs. This is, in a technical sense, news – however in a realistic sense it’s the furthest thing from it. It serves no enlightening purposes and instead only makes our worldviews that much more narrow and widens the schism between meaningful dialogue between opposing perspectives.

By continuing this trend of digital self-promotion and selectively biased ‘liking,’ Facebook, originally a tool used to bring people back together who may have drifted apart, is now a forceful and effective way to drive people apart rapidly while simultaneously convincing everyone that they’re part of a grand community sharing ideas and experiences. The sheer irony of this is astounding. Millions of users engage in the vainglory and isolated worldview culture of Facebook based on the assumption that what they’re sharing is for others to consume. It is egocentric behavior branded as shared interest and executed under a delusional sense of altruism. Moreover, the wedge being driven between people is maliciously benign, in essence, it’s so subtle that’s it barely discernible as damaging because it’s done in the interest of ‘likes’ and ‘friends’ that is almost never perceived as intentionally deceitful, dishonest, or done solely for personal gain.

Dumpster Fire, part 1


March 1, 2017
by Creed

Kids and Manners: a manual for new parents/pitiful role models

Encouraging good manners and behavior in children is a difficult endeavor. It is made even more challenging once parents realize that the real key to promoting manners and kindness is based on role modeling. Most modern adults are simply unable to be decent examples for children, mainly because modern adult society is foundationally build on the principles of avarice and greed. Adults who are genuine role models for children are few and far between. However, there are other ways to solicit good behavior from children that do not require the parent to always be an exceptional role model. Although certainly the “lead by example” method is the preferred course of action, use the following suggestions as secondary means to bring out the best in your child.

If you live in a mental fantasyland where adherence to 19th century parental dictums is acceptable, corporal punishment represents the easiest way to promote good manners in children. By forcefully hitting your child with a variety of objects you can punish bad behavior and simultaneously positively reinforce good behavior. If you hold no qualms about your child fearing you, fearing adults in general, experiencing excruciating pain, crying, wailing, bleeding, developing a lack of trust in all humanity, or learning to accept the belief that physical violence solves problems then surely corporal punishment is a viable option for teaching good behavior. If you can do it in a public venue and also illustrate to your child that humiliation and ridicule are acceptable means for eliminating poor manners, then consider your job done and your transformation into a monster fully complete. You’ve successfully altered the behavior of your child by exercising your superior strength and cleverly crafted an atmosphere of goodwill based on fear and intimidation. Good for you.

Another less harmful yet effective way to solicit good behavior from a child is negotiation. Children are master negotiators. It is a well-documented fact that most children are born as used car salespersons and only through growth and education do they become anything else. If left unchecked and uneducated, the world would be overrun with unemployed used-vehicle hawking charlatans due to lack of available work. You can negotiate anything with a child so long as the reward is worth their time and effort. Children will share, eat healthy, sleep, and readily adopt exquisite manners if they’re led to believe it will benefit them in another way. Also referred to as bribery, skillful negotiation can be one of the greatest tools a new parent can hone for bringing out the best in a child, albeit temporarily.

Perhaps the most effective way to enforce good manners and behavior in a child is scare tactics. This is different than the aforementioned corporal punishment because scare tactics do not physically harm the child and if executed properly, will result in minimal emotional scarring as well. An example of a good scare tactic is identifying something a child dislikes and using that very thing against them to improve their behavior. If you have something that you know your child dislikes and/or is scared of, like for example a scary Halloween gorilla mask, use this item in a semi-benign yet still threatening manner to quash that unwanted behavior and bring out the positivity. If your child knows (through your subtle and infrequent reminders) that at any moment you might reappear as a gorilla, you should be able to keep their behavior in line with acceptability without actually having to pull your gorilla mask out of the crawl space.

While all these suggestions will certainly help you mold your child’s behavior in the ways you are seeking, it is critical to remember that literally all of them are to be used only when you, the parent, have totally failed to be a reasonable example of how to be a suitable human. Human decency and compassion should not be that difficult for you to muster and the average adult is fully capable of being a positive role model for a child, although most don’t seem to know how to harness their role modeling skill set. If you are such a tremendous waste of life that you cannot summon the ability to intermittently serve as a good example of how to be a polite and well-mannered functioning human, then use the above suggestions to aid in keeping the behavior of your child in check until you are capable of becoming a well-adjusted individual. If there is any lingering doubt that you cannot accomplish the task of leading by example, there are agencies that will set your child up for adoption at virtually any age.


February 12, 2017
by Creed

The Food Culture of a Child

While certainly sleep, clothing, and shelter are important components of raising a child, one of the more difficult things to adapt to as a new parent is food. Babies and young children, despite their relatively small stature and weight, eat surprisingly high volumes of food, probably due to the fact that they are constantly evacuating their bowels and always need to replenish. Understanding how to make meal time and food in general a multi-daily experience for a baby takes practice, as surely most adults are not intimately familiar with what or how babies eat prior to having one.

The initial few months of this food-based journey tends to be the easiest, albeit the most time-consuming. Basically anything can be turned into food for a baby. Young children, particularly the ones without teeth yet will eat almost anything that can be transformed into a paste-like sludge. The role of the parent is little more than adding some type of seasoning to it in order to make it as approachable as possible. You can use simple tricks to increase the consumption of healthy vegetables by adding things like chocolate and cinnamon to purified broccoli or something slightly less disgusting.

One of the biggest fears for new parents is how to identify food allergies. It is a legitimate concern for new parents who are not sure what potential food allergies a baby may or may not have. The silver lining is that because there is truly no way of knowing what allergies a baby is born with you can feel free to feed them anything and just be as alert as possible. If you feed your baby a small piece of softshell crab meat and he or she spirals into anaphylactic shock, consider that a learning moment and a win. You now know that your child may react negativity to shellfish. Trial and error is really the only way to go about it.  Babies are remarkably resilient and can usually overcome the initial parenting screw-ups quickly because they’re small, flexible, and move their bowels virtually ‘round the clock thus eliminating toxins rapidly.

Early childhood is also a great time to introduce some of the more exquisite and advanced flavors of the adult world like sushi, curry, or Mediterranean cuisine. Babies typically are far more willing to try anything and this will prevent having to negotiate meal time later in life, as your child will already be accustomed to a variety of diverse flavors. As an added perk, many of these foodstuffs are extravagantly priced which will keep you, the parent, locked deep in a cyclical system of self-sustaining poverty thereby preparing you for the rest of your natural life as a penniless live-in housekeeper.

As children age, their acceptance and food-based development regresses as they slowly discover sugar contained within a wide variety of foods based purely on the idea of empty calories. Toddler-aged children and up will gradually be steered into a junk food-centric society as their exposure to popular culture and, namely, television increases. This is when the many months you spent stirring nutmeg into pureed sweet potatoes and forking over $9 for a tempura ahi roll will prove beneficial. Ultimately there is no stopping the relentless desire of a child to binge on candy all day but at least you’re adequately prepared to suggest a wide variety of real food alternatives you already know they like. Children can only eat so much oatmeal before it becomes forgettable.

Another one of the more frustrating avenues in the food culture of children is the downright refusal to eat. For seemingly no reason at all, a child will reject everything. There are two options for the parent in these scenarios. You can continually badger your child and make the act of eating a forced exercise which will result in a firestorm of rage, screaming, fighting, and crying that will have you praying for a meteor to strike your home and end the madness or you can let he or she sit there and be hungry. Eventually a child’s natural survival instincts will kick in and they will eat. Parents have a strange tendency to believe that missing a meal (or something similar like a nap or a bowel movement) will result in the immediate death of their child and because of this belief they are willing to go the route of forcing food on a child who simply doesn’t feel like eating.

The key in all this food-centric chaos is to remember the act of putting nutrients in your face hole is solely for the purpose of survival. Adults have transformed food and survival into a lifestyle based on sensory experiences and opulence. The food culture of a child is not in any way about these things. It is during this time that you must remember that food is about nutrition and is required for continuing life. If your child does not like your highbrow coconut-infused skin-on broiled Chilean seabass with artisanal brie methylcellulose mousse don’t get distressed, instead just fire up a bowl of instant rice with some crumbled oreos on top. After all, they have the rest of their lives to indulge.


February 11, 2017
by Creed

Dumpster Fire: Social Media and Adults, pt. 1

We all use it. We all probably use it daily. We say that it enhances our lives through availability of information and interpersonal connections. It’s social media and it is in large part a malignant abscess of humanity existing right at our fingertips.

Virtually every average adult has at least one social media account. Many of us have several. We use them for two reasons. Of those two reasons, one is stated and one is not. All adults who have accounts use them for one or both of these reasons: information and narcissism. While both these traits don’t apply to everyone equally, at least one applies in all cases and in many situations, both.

It’s true that social media has made us more connected than ever. However because virtually all human emotions can now be experienced through a screen, it has arguably made us less connected than ever, at least in any meaningful sort of way. Speaking strictly about access to information – news, sports, lifestyle, etc. – social media has had a transformative effect on humanity. Everything, literally everything, is available at a moment’s notice through various sources. Through social media not only can you access developing stories immediately, but you can do it through the lens of your own personal worldview filtered by who you follow, like, or befriend in the world of the internet. In doing this, we can change the content of what we read to match what we believe. It is in this way that even when viewing factual information, social media can alter it enough to match the values of the user.

The most abundant use of social media is for purposes of self-service. Through virtually all mediums you’ll see an abundance of narcissistic grown people using social media for their own vainglory. This happens in a variety of ways and largely depends on which social media application you are using. No matter the app or use of it, however, the sole purpose is self-gratification. On Facebook this takes the form of the visual glorification of one’s life through pictures and oversharing. On Instagram it’s done with selfies and filters to falsely boost one’s self-esteem based on public perception. On Twitter this is achieved through pandering and reciprocal pandering. While it changes forms in various ways and occasionally changes entirely based on the platform, it all serves the same essential purpose of narcissistic fulfillment.

In this new multi-part series, we’ll examine the effects that social media has on the two purposes it serves, information and narcissism, and how those effects impact individuals and what purpose they serve. Social media is the quintessential example of a double-edged sword and unfortunately, most of us are using it far too irresponsibly. If you view it critically, most people shouldn’t be using it at all. However, similar to other hugely consequential areas of life that are haphazardly open to the general public for free like voting and procreating, having a social media account requires no existing intelligence level or even a license to practice.

kids watching kids be kids

February 5, 2017
by Creed

Kids Watching Kids Be Kids

There is an odd trend in the world of kids entertainment that seemingly defies explanation. This phenomenon is the act of kids watching shows about others kids who are literally doing nothing besides being kids. In a reality-style, DIY-ish video, kids can now watch video clips of other kids, just like them, doing the things that they do everyday. These hugely popular videos showcase a kid doing things like playing with toys in various locations while his parent records it and adds in a narrative commentary about what is happening. Surely the first time you see one of these, as a parent, you’re not quite sure what to make of it. The kids that star in these videos are doing nothing that a regular kid wouldn’t already be doing on a daily basis. So why is it that kids enjoy watching videos of other kids doing what they spend most of their own day doing anyway? To delve deeper into the mind of a child and what a child thinks about, these videos offer some fascinating insight. Although difficult to understand at first for a parent, ultimately there is value here. Finding it is the tough part.

On it’s surface, the videos are a means for the parents to earn income in some capacity. The toys are cited by brand name and are referenced repeatedly, indicating that at the very least, the parent is acquiring these toys free of charge with the understanding they’ll routinely plug the toy throughout the video. While the capitalist nature of these clips is evident, they aren’t shameless product plugs. The product advertisement is consistently present but is ancillary to the actual content of the video. The content is almost strictly about the kid playing with these things in various locations and thus, all the videos are relatively similar yet distinctly different.

There are multiple examples of these ‘kids watching kids be kids’ videos. The Axel Show is literally nothing more than a boy, Axel, and his father, Patrick, going to various outdoor sites and playing with toys. These videos, admittedly rudimentary in content, dialogue, and production value regularly receive upwards of 500,000 YouTube views with many video’s views in the millions. All told, the Axel Show has 154,000 YouTube subscribers and includes nearly 300 videos ranging in length from a few minutes to around fifteen minutes. The two-and-a-half minute trailer alone for this program has 1.2 million views.

A similar program entitled Ryan’s Toy Review is quite clearly intended for the financial benefit of the family however the content is generally much the same. A young kid, Ryan, goes around playing with things while his mom videos him, again, always referencing the toys by brand name and description. In terms of YouTube popularity, Ryan’s Toy Review has existed for a much shorter time period than The Axel Show but is substantially more popular. The parents also state in the description of their channel that most of the toys eventually go to charities. Ryan’s videos routinely get over a million views each and his YouTube channel has about six million subscribers.

Why, however, do kids like this? Most kids have the ability to easily do whatever they see in the videos anyway so why would they rather watch videos of kids being kids rather than go do those things themselves? There are several answers to this question.

First, kids view entertainment not entirely differently from how adults view it. In much the same way an adult will watch a sports game or a reality show, kids view these videos because they understand that what they’re viewing is plausible to their day-to-day lives. Certainly anyone of us can go to a park and throw around a football but very few of us can do it with the precision and fanfare of Tom Brady. Similarly, we can go to bars and clubs and go on dates but we never get to select our mate from a line-up of attractive humans by eliminating them one-by-one through a dramatic rose-giving ceremony. We watch this type of programming for the drama and the spectacle. Children are no different with their entertainment. Watching kids who aren’t them playing with toys they don’t have is, in essence, not much removed from an adult watching QVC, the Food Network, or any daytime talk show.

Secondly, kids covet. In perhaps one of the saddest realizations in the parenting world, kids covet no differently than adults do. They just covet different things. The ‘kids watching kids be kids’ video phenomenon is thus an effective marketing technique without the shameless, in-your-face merchandising plugs because it appeals to desire based on coveting. Even without explicit advertising techniques or cliches, the kids watching these videos identify the toys specifically even with only minimal mention of what the toy is called or branded. Although the content is the human interaction between a kid, his parent, and the toy, the underlying attraction to the videos is a child seeing something he or she wants and doesn’t have.

Thirdly, kids don’t always have involved parents and these videos espouse an atmosphere where not only does the kid being videoed have an abundance of toys, but he has parents willing to stand there with a camera and video them. In this sense, it appeals to the ego of a child but also highlights the fact that many children truly do have involved parents who make ample time to interact with them. In this vein, the videos serve a need as a mental fantasyland for children whose parents would rather just stick an iPad in front of them rather than engage.

While ultimately these videos are materialistic and vain, there is value in them. Perhaps most evident is the creativity they are capable of producing. A kid may try to mimic something he or she sees in the video and in doing so, learns how to engage in a way they may not have before. Perhaps most valuable in these videos is using them as a tool to promote activity. Kids watching kids be kids may actually motivate a kid to get outside and be a kid. As opposed to other inane children’s programming that keeps them visually locked into a screen for hours on end, these videos are generally short and concise.

rife with failure

January 23, 2017
by Creed
1 Comment

Rife with Failure

Rife with failure. This expression can infiltrate your life at any juncture. Adulthood is rife with failure in so many ways that perhaps the most important tool any adult can develop is an immunity to failure, as it will surely impact your life consistently and repeatedly.

One of the mainstays of adulthood is work. However, modern work is different from the work of our parents and grandparents. Loyalty and career building were once noble characteristics of work which have now been replaced by moving from job to job in order to establish a resume built on principles of diverse expertise. Everyone is now a jack of all trades and master of none. However you can still be the master of one trade; failure.

Applying for a job is rife with failure. Despite the various experts and career counseling services, there is truly no definition of a perfect resume or a perfect interview. The best course of action for the modern worker is to expect total failure at every turn. In doing so, you’re virtually never disappointed since failure has become your norm. Don’t worry too much about the content of your resume, most employers barely glance at it anyway. In a similar vein, don’t stress yourself out over preparing for an interview simply because hiring in the modern age is based on networking, specified skills, physical appearance, and charisma. You could essentially show up to a job interview in a three-piece suit with perfectly greased hair after spritzing on your finest musk and get beaten out for a job by a guy with holes in his chinos and mismatched socks simply because he was referred by a friend to the company. Even more devastating is when you’re beaten out by no one at all and the company simply closes the position due to lack of capable applicants. In this case, you’ve been denied a job that was eventually dissolved because you are such a tremendous failure that your credentials were insufficient for employment even when everyone else who applied was arguably worse. Congrats.

In order to best experience failure in all aspects of your life, you need to take it home with you. Monogamous relationships are another fun area of adulthood that are rife with failure. Although initially constructed on the principles of love, companionship, and mutual interest, long-term monogamy becomes rife with failure at the most unpredictable times. Although these failures are usually small things like poorly cleaning a cheese grater or mixing the whites and the colors, they add up over time to paint a larger representation of how you are not only unemployable in the professional sphere, but also quite useless in the domestic one. Go ahead and throw that lonesome sock in the drawer without its match. Doesn’t matter. Put the toilet paper on the wrong shelf, roll up the vacuum cord backwards, and put the fruit in the vegetable crisper. None of this stuff matters anyway, you useless sack.

One of the best areas to experience utter failure is parenting. Parenting right from the get-go is rife with failure and perhaps most interestingly, it really never ends. The failure of parenting will always find a way to manifest itself again and again in new, creative outlets. Don’t worry if your infant crawls between the wall and the washing machine and gets stuck. It is natural for babies to be curious and given that they are small and flexible most likely they’re unhurt by this misadventure. Most of the failures of parenting are accidents or learning moments that are only perceived as failure due to the lack of experience in parenting. However as children grow they are only exposed to more and more situations that could potentially result in sickness or injury and surely you’re as unprepared for these and you were the first time he or she scaled the bars of the crib and toppled over the side.

Being an adult is so rife with failure that the best way to prevent constant embarrassment and shame is to embrace your total ineptitude in every area of life. Adults tend to get embarrassed quickly in situations where they get the wrong answer and this leads to stigmatization and fear of even answering at all in the future. Children, by comparison, will take a shot at literally anything because they haven’t been trained through years of conditioning that failure is bad or wrong. Live your life more like an innocent child. Screw everything up and feel no shame whatsoever. Life is rife with failure but that’s where you find the humanity and the lessons. Certainly many of these things will never vanish entirely and you’ll be well prepared to embrace uselessness time and time again, like a writer who despite their wealth of experience still always manags to worked in a fw typos.

advice from a 3-year-old

January 8, 2017
by Creed

Advice from a 3-year-old

The simple reason you cannot trust parenting websites, blogs, forums, and books is because most if not all of them claim to be experts and typically they all have views on how to parent correctly. It’s well established in the parenting world and in humanity as whole that no two people are completely the same. This is no different with small children and obviously rings true when talking about parents as well. Even identical twins raised in an identical environment will establish their own interests and thus, their own behaviors as a result of that. What’s been made quite clear with the so-called parenting experts is that you, the parent, are the one taking charge of the situation. You’re the adult and what you say, do, or imply by example is doctrine. Essentially, don’t take your advice from a 3-year-old.

But why not? Children are intelligent and astute. Certainly they haven’t been poisoned by adult society yet so they’re also pure and innocent. They are untainted humans and surely their behaviors, albeit unpredictably erratic at times, are normally not in pursuit of some ulterior motive and almost never are they intentionally deceitful. In fact, children tend to be brutally honest in every situation especially when their honesty is of severe inconvenience to their parent.

Advice from a 3-year-old is perhaps the best untapped pool of parenting genius around. A 3-year-old, and young children in general, have innocent intentions that almost always orbit something fun and/or required for basic survival like eating or urinating. Be the caretaker over the welfare of your family by taking advice from a 3-year-old.

If you and your child are hungry, let them decide what’s for dinner. It won’t matter much that you’ve already had pizza three times this week because pizza is delicious and obesity is now socially acceptable. Remind yourself that only a hundred or so years ago morbid obesity was a status symbol – a sign of wealth and prosperity. Loosen up that belt and have a few slices. Don’t worry about your expanding waistline and increasing blood pressure. Instead think about how modern society embraces people of all shapes because being politically incorrect in social settings is now so stigmatized that no one will ever poke fun at you right to your face. Additionally, improve your emotional solace by knowing that if modern society adhered to 19th century social dictums of wealth and happiness, you’d be considered a robber baron. By making an important meal decision for the family your child will be happy. More importantly, your child made a choice. Advice from a 3-year-old has benefitted everyone.

If it’s raining outside and you’re confined indoors for most of the day with your 3-year-old, just go with the flow. Let them stare at the iPad all day. In the modern developed world there are a myriad of learning apps and games that can fill in for you as a source of education and learning. Kick your feet up while your child stares into a screen positioned literally inches from their face for hours on end. No biggie, modern medicine can cure any vision impairments these days anyway. When they get sick of the device and need to blow off some steam, maybe engage for a bit and play like the child you are inside. 3-year-olds have the energy of a puppy on meth and perhaps a good game of ‘chase me around the table for two hours’ will benefit your ever-expanding waistline since all you do is eat pizza now. Remember, the peak of human physicality is age thirty and your metabolism isn’t what it once was.

When your child is noticeably tired but refuses to sleep, just let them stay up. Take your sleeping advice from a 3-year-old. Eventually a young child will get so completely exhausted that they’ll crash literally anywhere. No worries. If he or she feels the need to stay up to eleven doing nothing at all, let it go. Children fight sleep at every opportunity even when they are clearly fatigued beyond repair. You child will eventually sleep at some point and then you too will get to rest. It doesn’t matter much that you have to be up at four the next morning to go to work. Laboring tireless for your pitiful salary isn’t nearly as important as letting your child make a mistake that they probably won’t learn from and will likely choose to repeat again the very next night. The human body might not function as well when exhausted but perhaps your performance at work will start to slip and you’ll have that extra motivation you need to excel after your boss threatens to discipline you. In extreme circumstances you may even fall asleep at your desk and be fired at which point you can collect unemployment and spend more time with your family. There is nothing but silver lining here.

Quite clearly it is of paramount importance that you, the parent, allow your 3-year-old to make the calls. Everyone is eating, everyone is playing, everyone is sleeping and there is no way any of these tactics can at all backfire ever. When given the chance to make an independent decision, you’ll find that so long as they have the proper information and are shown an example even once, a young child will make the right one. While you as the parent will need to intercede in the best interests of health and learning from time to time, you can do it in ways that are not evident to the child. They might not like when you put cucumbers on their pizza or replace YouTube Kids with science and math games but that won’t matter much because ultimately you are the parent and what you say goes, even if you have to be sneaky to achieve these means. You’re letting your child make the decisions and feeling like an autonomous being and not a subservient house guest is of the greater good for your precious angel.

As time passes and you’ve ate enough pizza, played enough iPad, chased them enough around the table, and stayed up all night making oatmeal on various occasions, the methods you’ve employed to limit their scope of freedom within their ‘autonomous decisions’ will bear fruit. Put their favorite apps back on the iPad. Put some vegetables on the plate. The options of independent decision making that existed all along still exist and now you’ve integrated some choices all of which you know have healthy, productive and unhealthy, nonproductive alternatives readily available. The advice from a 3-year-old tactic will shift just enough to see a result. The choices the 3-year-old makes this time around will be of appropriate balance and you can retire for the night at nine thirty like a totally normal thirty-something-year-old geriatric.

January 5, 2017
by Creed

Role Modeling Rage

Unless you’ve lived the entirety of your life as a noble and pious beacon of humanity and altruism, surely there are at least a few undesirable qualities that you possess. Qualities that likely are not considered ideal in raising a child – things like lying or being sneaky. Even if it’s done in the interest of surprising someone or hiding a truth that’s potentially hurtful to another human, everyone has lied. Sometimes many things that adults just simply do as a function of their lives are not things anyone would blatantly attempt to teach a child. These are things like drinking, swearing, or judging. Surely at some point you’ve done these things and just as certainly as a parent, you likely don’t want your toddler drinking, swearing, or judging. You certainly don’t have to take the moral high ground in every situation to be a good parent but the observations of a child in daily like are unpreventable. That said, parenting is ripe with failure as even the most upstanding role model is human.

My son has some issues with his temper. In a general sense, he’s a kind and polite 3-year-old. He has good manners and seems to generally understand right from wrong, yes from no, and how to interact with both family and strangers in socially appropriate ways. Seemingly without much guidance, he’s developed a keen awareness for how others feel and how he perceives them. What he hasn’t yet developed in any awareness whatsoever for how people perceive him. That’s ok for the most part, as typically he’s a normal kid with likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, and real, controlled emotional responses.

Where the temperament comes in is when there’s something to stimulate dissatisfaction. Literally the most benign inconvenience causes him to react in a way that can only be described as extreme. There is no sliding scale of irritation, frustration, anger, and rage like is typically common with most adults and many children. His demeanor seemingly drops from pleasant satisfaction into volatile hostility in fewer than two seconds and in doing so, has a tremendous effect on his worldview at any given moment. Perhaps because he’s only three, he hasn’t developed a full command of his emotions but by comparison, when the emotion elicited isn’t anger the result is different. Even less desired emotions like sadness, longing, or even physical pain do not seem to cause him to fall as steeply as rage. He tends to go through permutations of emotional reasoning so long as the emotion brewing is anything besides rage. With rage, he just drops off that cliff.

As a parent it is a difficult course to navigate simply because firstly, I don’t understand it and secondly, I too have a short fuse in certain situations. While I have learned over time how volatility can stimulate negative consequences in reality, it doesn’t make me any more qualified to try and teach a toddler how to negotiate his rage. I am not a trained rage role model. I’m not a trained role model for anything. He’s typically quite receptive to suggestions and tends to realize after the fact that he may have responded a bit too intensely. It seems that simply discussing these things with him afterward is beneficial to both of us.

However at times I can mess this up more than I can improve it. It’s been well-document on this blog and in life in general that raising a child can be a frustrating existence. The tolerance and patience required is high and not always available round the clock for many adults. It is also well-documented that being a role model isn’t something you’re just born with. Last night he dropped into a moment of rage and I, purely out of shameful adult instinct, ripped his iPad out of his hands and put it where he couldn’t reach it. I spent some time wondering how one act of wrongful parenting may have erased any good I had done in instances prior. I essentially validated his rage with my own. I, as the physically stronger being can dominate him whenever the need arises. That isn’t something I should ever have to prove or exercise, but I did.

%d bloggers like this: