Baby Crocs (Do Do Do)

48393541_2231525940421445_5177731436383305728_oWhile his mom was getting him ready for bed tonight, Harrison saw his baby crocs on the shelf across from the changing table – shoes he hasn’t even worn yet because they’ve been too big – and decided he must wear them immediately. He wore them through story time, and refused to let them be taken off as he was put in his crib.

One came off a few minutes later, and he began crying until Betsy went and put it back on. He’s still sleeping in them now.

And that’s how our son went from being 2 years old to 42 years old overnight.

S2E1: What These Two Dads Think of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

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John Mick joins the podcast as a regular co-host of Season 2. In this episode, We talk about the perennial controversy over the holiday song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, and use it as a jumping off point to talk about consent – how we learned about it growing up, and how we hope to teach our kids.

The song featured in the 1949 film “Neptune’s Daughter” on YouTube:

The book Dennis mentions, “Beyond the Birds and Bees”, by Bonnie J. Rough

I Suck at Job Interviews

I went on a job interview today.

I don’t need a job. I have a job. I have two jobs. (Or 47 jobs, as one of my interviewers pointed out.) I split my time between working for myself, and as a contractor, in massage, and also real estate. And I could always be doing better at both, but I feel pretty good about how I’m doing in both right now, too.

I don’t need a new job, but I’ve always been interested in this particular company, and they posted a job opening a few weeks ago, and so I applied. A phone interview and then an initial in-person interview, and then today, I found myself meeting with the company’s area managers.

interview

***

So here’s the thing: I suck at job interviews.

Yeah, I know everyone says that, either out of false modesty or being too hard on themselves.

But seriously.

I.

Suck.

At.

Job.

Interviews.

I am all the bad cliches. I am nervous. I am clammy. I stutter over my words. I do not present myself well. The job interviews where I have been successful were ones where the job was already mine, more or less, because of the circumstances, and/or the person interviewing me really just liked to hear themselves talk, and all I had to do was nod and agree and offer up only an occasional observation or bit of information.

But this interview today was different. Because I don’t need the job. I was interviewing them as much as they were me. I don’t think I’m a shoe-in for the job by any means. They may reject me. But if they do, I’m okay with that.

And so, I relaxed today. I was easily conversational, and I am typically not one to be so with people I have just met, especially with people who’s job is to judge me. 

I was upfront, and said all the things I have said in this post about not needing them, but I’ve always have been interested in them, and wanted to explore my options. When I was asked the typical “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question, I answered that I wasn’t sure where I saw myself job-wise, but did see myself working in something that I loved and enjoyed, something that gives a good work-life balance.

We went on some unsuspected tangents. They asked me what I did for fun, and I talked about my Quantum Leap podcast.

I talked about Quantum Leap in a job interview. 

I have no idea if that will help or hurt me.

If it helps, that’s okay.

If it hurts, that’s okay too. 

Either way, today was a success.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in here about the key to successful interviewing is to pretend like you don’t need the job. That might be true, I guess, but I also know that’s a luxury a lot of people do not have.

But I was lucky to have it today.

Today was a good day.

Screen Time

“We’d like him to not have any screen time, at least not for his first few months.”

Betsy said this to the owner of one the daycares we interviewed a couple of months before Harrison was born, when the owner said she gives the kids about a half-hour of screen time every afternoon. This was an in-home daycare in West Rogers Park,  Chicago. We were going the in-home route because it’s ridiculously affordable, and that’s what we needed – and still do. I didn’t even realize in-home daycares were a thing.

The woman looked at us like we were naive. We ended up not going with her. There were other some other factors beyond the screen time. She had been doing this for over 20 years, but we got the sense she was winding down, and she had become a little too relaxed. The daycare we chose assured us there was no screen time.

But the West Roger Park daycare owner was right, in the end. We were naive. Betsy and I were pretty good about no screens around Harrison – at least no TV – for the first two or three months, but eventually, we caved, and began watching TV with him, often during meal times. We have a small condo, and no formal dining area, you see.

The last three or four months, we opened the Pandora’s Box wide open and began letting him watch kids videos on YouTube. Baby Shark – yeah, you know that song – may have been the gateway drug. It was under control for while. He wasn’t hooked on the videos. We could shut them off whenever, and he would instantly move on to something else.

Seriously, this is baby crack.

The last three or so weeks, though, that changed. Some of it came out of convenience, especially on nights when I was still working, and Betsy needed to cook dinner. It was easy to put Harrison in front of the computer screen and let him watch his favorites, which went from Thomas, the Tank Engine to various kids’ Halloween videos, to Masha and the Bear. It got to the point that if we were home, he was pulling himself up on the desk chair or grabbing the TV remote, signaling to us what he wanted. Sometimes he would get upset if the exact video he wanted wasn’t playing.

We weren’t pleased or proud about this. We started feeling like we were letting ourselves, and more importantly, him down – especially after Betsy read in a new book she purchased that no screen time at all is recommended for kids under 2.

Damn. We really did feel like failures.

We decided tonight to go cold turkey with screens when we got home for the evening. (‘Cold turkey’. That’s such an odd expression. When I was a kid, and I heard someone say they’d stopped smoking “cold turkey”, I pictured them literally smoking cold turkey, rolled up into cigarettes.)

What we were reminded of is that children are resilient and pliable. He was upset for about five minutes. But then we happily ate dinner together, talking and listening to music. After, we went in his room with him and played for an hour, a moratorium on screens for all of us, with the exception taking these pictures. (And also me entering the daily Hamilton lottery, because priorities.)

But seriously, what does the fox say?

Tonight was the best night we’ve had in a while. He was in a better mood, and so were we.

It would be easy for Betsy and I to look back on these last few weeks and beat ourselves up for letting ourselves get to the point we did and needing to do such a course correction. But the truth is, we’re going to screw up a lot raising this child of ours, and we have to learn from our mistakes and grow and not dwell on them too long or deeply.

Tonight, we’re celebrating a victory and feel committed to more quality family time in our evenings.

Not Any Other Way

Dear Son,

You’re entering a new chapter, a new stage of growth, and you’re not sleeping as well at night as you were. Which means we’re not sleeping well. A couple of nights ago was almost as difficult for your mom as your very early days.

The thing is, I sometimes have a hard time remembering my nights before you. Some nights are a challenge, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Love you, kid.

– Dad