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I’m an avid fan of sleeping babies.  Why?  Because if a baby (particularly mine) is sleeping, I don’t have to feed her, change her, burp her, bathe her, or soothe her.  And I can get all the cuddles I want from her whenever, wherever, and however I want them.  (It’s the less is more squared principle.  I’m doing LESS for her, yet I’m MORE happy and have MORE time to do other things.)

So when I came across an article about the Finns (or is it Finlandians? or Finnishians? or Finlandese? maybe Suomalaiset?) and how their society believes that babies sleep more soundly in subzero temperatures outside, I was interested in testing out the theory.

The article said that Finnish moms and dads would park their strollers (or prams) outside during baby nap time.  Prams would be left in freezing temperatures for up to a couple of hours so that baby would take a good, solid nap and reap some health benefits on the side.  For me, I would love to shackle secure Smush to her stroller on the sidewalk while I went inside the mall to watch a movie, visit the bookstore, or have a nice, quiet, dinner with my wife.  Then a few days hours later, I could return to my child napping away because she exhausted herself by screaming her head off for two straight hours with no one coming to her aid peacefully.  I see no downside so far.

The Finns believe (yes, all of them) that napping outside in the cold weather is good for boosting the baby’s immune system and helps them sleep more soundly, both of which are inherently tied together.  The idea stems from this guy, Arvo Ylppö, a Finnish pediatrician credited with starting the trend sometime in the 1920’s.  Seeing as how he dropped the infant mortality rate significantly during his working tenure, Ylppö probably had a pretty good understanding of public health and how to avoid, prevent, and treat disease.  The general population listened to his suggestions then and they’re still following them now.

Enough of the history lesson, this blog isn’t meant to add cells to your brain.  It’s purpose is to remove them one by one.

I decided to do an experiment.  It’s winter time in San Diego and Smushie sometimes has trouble sleeping in the night.  These two facts were just the right ingredients I needed for my laboratory testing.  The opportunity was here, so why not try to see if she would sleep better outside?  I suppose that if the Finns hold the solution to happily sleeping babies, I want to inject plenty of it into my own two lapset.  That’s Finnish for children.

Yesterday was my first clinical trial.  The temperature in my neighborhood last night was 12 degrees, extremely close to 0 degrees.  (Ok, so I converted it to Celsius for additional dramatic effect.  It’s not quite the same as the freezing temperatures in Helsinki, but it is as brutal a winter we’re going to get in Southern California.)  I bundled up the Smush in her onesie.  Socks on the hands, a hat on her head and a double layer of blankets were sure to keep my baby toasty warm.

Now, I could have left Smush out on the front porch to sleep, but for fear that (A) my wife would leave me (B) my parents would kill me, and (C) I’d spend a few years in the county jail, I decided to take her for a walk instead.  I modified my experiment into a ‘supervised’ cold weather nap.  I took a long stroll around the neighborhood.

Within minutes, the little one was fast asleep.  And she slept for the entire hour walk.  Yes, she opened her eyes occasionally.  But, it wasn’t because she was awake.  She was just giving me that creepy baby stare where she doesn’t blink or flinch a muscle and it feels like her eyes are piercing my head like a laser beam.  (If you’re a parent, you know exactly what I mean.)  Smushie’s eyes were open, but her brain was on a Dreamland vacation.

I thought to myself, there’s got to be something to this whole baby subzero sleeping thing!  Those crazy Finns don’t seem so crazy after all! To take it a step further, I backed up my data by repeating the experiment again and publishing my findings to the blog universe to become the next overnight internet sensation.  With the temperatures below 10 degrees (again, in Celsius for the dramatic effect), Smush was bundled up the same as the previous day, except that her hat had little bunny ears which provided some measure of additional warmth to her head.  I had to wear a long-sleeved shirt along with my shorts.  (I had to dig deep in the closet for my cold weather gear!)

Guess what?  It worked better the second time.  In fact, she napped for a total of 5 hours during and after her chilly evening jaunt.  Some of the napping was inside the house, but the better part of it was under the moon, stars, and alien UFO lightbeams.

So,  the takeaways from the article I read along with my own experiments and observations:

  1. In Finland, they don’t steal babies.
  2. In America, leaving your baby alone outside is called child neglect and is punishable by jail time in Guantanamo.
  3. Finnish babies are born directly onto the snow to acclimate them to freezing temperatures immediately, hence increasing their ability to brave subfreezing temperatures.  (I’m not making this stuff up.  Nope.)

The cold weather experiment brought Smush and I two great nights of sleep in a row!  No, we didn’t have subzero temperatures.  No, we weren’t in Finland.  But I was wearing a heart rate monitor and thinking about the next wife carrying competition (two very Finnish inventions), so at least in my mind, it was like we were practically natives.

I'm Not Kidding, Smush.  The Finlandians do This All the Time!

I’m Not Kidding, Smush. The Finlandians do This All the Time!

Hashtag Jameson has nothing on these even more futuristic baby names!

Hashtag is no match for these 5 most popular names of 2035!

Our due date is less than 3 weeks away.  (Personally, I think it’s less than 7 days away…)  The nickname Smushie is cute enough for us, but we have to christen the new addition with a more official name, otherwise she will become property of the hospital.  Since we’ve got no shortage of chores around the house to do, we see more value in bringing said baby home to unwittingly work for us in exchange for providing her food and shelter.

Steph and I were 99% sure that we picked out our daughter’s birth name.  Until this morning.  Just as the love for your child changes, names change too.  I stumbled upon an article about some parents who named their daughter Hashtag.  Hmm.  Hashtag.  If you aren’t sure what Hashtag means, you must be:

A) over 21 years old,

or

B) are too young to use a cellphone.

In a nutshell, hashtag is a Twitter tool for twits that tweet.  All the hip dudes and dudettes are using it.  (Obviously, not me.)  Just like the @ symbol is used in email, # is the tag symbol used in Twitter.  Sort of.  Enough said about that, I’m boring myself to sleep thinking about it.

The name Hashtag has been given to a little baby girl by a family only known as the Jamesons (whose brains may have been soaked too long in whiskey bearing the same moniker).  I guess that makes Hashtag effeminate…I don’t know.  But if you’re the first person to name your child after a computer symbol, it’s only fitting that you should be able to select which gender the name belongs.

In this day and age of technology, I’m an abacus.  I began to ponder what it will be like when Smush goes to school and all of her friends have cool, new millennium names.  I couldn’t let my daughter have a primitive name like her parents.  I won’t let Hashtag be the coolest, most popular kid in school!  I know I can do “one better” than the name hashtag.  In fact, I can do 5 better than Hashtag!

Here are 5 names that I am now looking at for our little girl:

  1. Syntax    –      Come on, some idiot genius has got to have thought this would be a cool name!
  2. 5i55y    –      She’s going to be the little sister of Worm, so why not swap some letters for numbers and call her what she is!  This is probably my most futuristically clever name yet!
  3. CAPSLOK    –      If you can’t figure out this name, YOU PROBABLY DON’T LOOK AT THE KEYS WHEN TYPING!  But, Smush had better be a screamer if she’s going to live up to this name…
  4. Ampersand         – and she can type her name with one stroke of a key!  Well two strokes, because you have to press the ‘shift’ key first…
  5. 😉      – This could be the most original techno-fied name yet!  Semicolon Close Parenthesis is too long…so We’ll call her Winky for short.

So there you have it.  The wife and I (or maybe just I) have made our new list of future-proof names for our baby girl.  Because by the time Smush is ready for grammar school, Emily, Sophia, and Nevaeh are going to sound like a bunch of crotchety, old grandmas.

When my baby girl is born, she is going to step straight into the future!  Happy New Year!

So, I’m driving my truck to the middle of nowhere to save myself  from the total annihilation of the earth today and I see this huge lifeform laser-beam-eye-blasting trucks out in the desert.  Something seemed out of the ordinary, and I thought to myself “Hey, maybe this guy is the one that was sent to end the world today.”

So I go up to take a closer look at him and he’s giggling like a baby and setting a couple of classic Toyota trucks ablaze.  Fearful that my old Toyota was going to be next, I grab my little portable back massager tool that doubles as a dog toy that doubles as a weapon.  (Yes, it’s that utilitarian.  I put it in weapon mode as I approached the monster.)

“What do you think you’re doing?”  I ask him…and the rest is in the image below.

apocalypse

I was able to get a good picture of the whole situation right before I put a stop to it with my quick wit.  (I also thought it would be nice to upload a picture to Facebook for posterity purposes.  It’s not every day that an apocalypse happens.)

Before you get too critical, I did photoshop this “End of the World” picture.  But all I did was add our conversation.  Everything else is legitimate and real!  (Yes, my dog is really standing in the path of destruction and looking fierce in a teal fleece sweater!)

So, if you think that the world wasn’t going to end today, YOU WERE WRONG!  I stopped it.  I’m not looking for any rewards or anything.  Just add Me vs. Gavin to your list of other daily timewasters.

I don’t want to write anything funny today. I can’t. Over the weekend, I took my Land Cruiser out to the desert to clear my mind, but the pressure in my head still hasn’t let up since Friday morning. The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School swirls inside me and I cry for the lives lost and the suffering family members left behind. My brain hurts. My body hurts. My heart hurts. Maybe Worm sensed it because this morning he doubled his affection towards me.

It’s a tragedy.  And this week, parents are burying children that didn’t deserve to die. Children that had so much life and so much potential that will forever lay dormant. As a father, It’s difficult to imagine having to bury my own child. I can’t even fathom the pain these parents must feel. It breaks my heart to think about it. This gunman could have meted out his fury anywhere in the country. The next gunman could mimic this monstrosity in my own town. Am I naive enough to think it could never happen to my family? No. So when I hug and kiss my son, I do so with all of myself, because in an instant he or I could be gone.

I have hope that America will change. We need to find value in ourselves and value in others. We must. Otherwise, we will continue to destroy each other. I have hope that one day our anger, hatred, and fears will be overcome by our desire to love. And until that happens, I can only believe in the future of humanity and the idea that people are inherently decent and good. Until that happens, I can only show the people around me that I love and cherish them. And that starts with my family. If we parents don’t show our children love, how can they love themselves? If we don’t teach our children how to love and support one another, how can they grow up to value human life? If we don’t teach our children these fundamental concepts of the human condition, they are emotionally and mentally lost. Lanza was lost.

I’m saddened by the events that transpired on Friday, December 14th. I wish we didn’t have to sacrifice so many lives in order to allow people to see the true spirit of human kindness, compassion, and love. May those that lost their lives forever find peace.

We cannot change the world without first changing ourselves. As Gandhi best put it, we must “be the change we wish to see in the world.” Unless that happens, we will all be lost.

Related Articles:

Newtown School Mass Shootings: Who or What is to Blame?

The Connecticut school massacre: How the world sees us

I see that ignorance is still rampant, even way out here in the dirty south west.  Yoga is a practice that encourages physical body movements and stretching to help one gain health.  It’s also a practice that gets middle-aged men and women so sweaty and liberated that they feel the need to rehydrate with a half-caf mochaccino latte and show off their perspiration stains at the nearby Starbucks. Like the old adage ‘If you don’t use it, it will rot and fall off’ states, you want to begin exercising early enough to make it through your teenage years before all that’s left sitting in front of the Xbox are your eyes, ears, and thumbs.  Or so I thought.

In a very free-spirited coastal town a few miles north of ‘America’s Finest City’, is Encinitas, CA.  Known for its surfing (and recently, its surfing Madonna) and it’s “Woodie” Meet every year, it’s a pretty relaxed beach town.  Until now.  Parents are up in arms (but, not in the sun salutation pose) about yoga being taught in their child’s school a few times a week.  To them, it seems that getting schoolkids to stretch is bad enough, but to christen it “yoga” will deviate the pliable young minds against Christianity (America’s religion) towards evil Hinduism.  First it’s yoga, then in the blink of an eye the kids will be singing “…one nation, under Brahman, with liberty…” followed by break for a vindaloo lunch and gulab jamun dessert.

Parents with children at some of the Encinitas Union School District schools want this weird and “unconstitutional” thing (I’m assuming yoga here and not the other unconstitutional things that happen in schools) to be stopped before further damage occurs to their children’s bodies and minds.

So, I took it upon myself to do a little research.  I pulled out the original copy of the U.S. Constitution that I keep under my mattress and started reading.  After nodding off 4 times in my perusal, I found this:

AmendmentXXVIII.

Section 1
The right of citizens of the United States to practice yoga shall not be denied,
although too much stretching will be construed as treason, as well as 
blasphemy for the God we mention  on our printed currency. In
addition, yoga practitioners, who are thus deemed experts, may be deported
to India (on the taxpayers dollar), where the source of the demonic practice originated.
 
Section 2
Blah, blah, blah….

Worm, I Thought You Are Supposed to Be Smiling In That Yoga Pose?

The parents have a strong point about the yoga now.  I see that it can be unconstitutional.  Their lawsuit, which I’m sure will follow, will bring up Amendment 28.  But, the defense also has a good argument and can at least claim 4 things:

  1. The children have not been practicing yoga and are not experts, hence bypassing the deportation portion of the amendment.
  2. The children have not started wearing tee-shirts with “Om” symbol on it to school (which will be another stupid lawsuit to hit the news soon enough).
  3. The children have not been burning incense, as most devout yogis do.
  4. The children have not been meditating during the class, because they all fall asleep when the opportunity arises.

Some of the awesome quotes (and my commentary) of the articles below are:

“…the yoga poses serve as religious expression or a way to invite Hindu deities into the body…” – I would like to invite the Hindu deity with all of the arms into my body to help me get a handle (or three) on my phone, dirty dishes, vacuum cleaner, TV remote, and Worm at the same time.

“…It’s not just yoga; it’s the background of who’s teaching it and how they were brought in…” – Yep, you got it right parent!  The yoga teacher is criminal and has a background in that Eastern meditation stuff.  There’s no way in hell anyone should be mentally calm in the face of a group of screaming idiots.  There’s something unnatural and inhuman about that!  I’m sure you don’t want your poor child to succumb to mental and emotional stability.

“…It’s pretty difficult to do anything these days that doesn’t have some relationship to some religion…” – I agree with this statement.  I do my best to never let my flat palms touch together, like clapping…because it may send the wrong religious signal like “Look, I’m praying!  Now, I’m not praying.  Now, I’m praying again! Ok, now I’m not.  Clapping teases the god(s) and I couldn’t do that to them.  Especially on Sundays, when they are really watching my every action.”

I know the statistics say that people are getting smarter with every subsequent generation, but sometimes it’s just hard to see.  I just pray (in a non-denominational, non-religious way) that this foolishness won’t magnify to the point where I’d have to travel to India just to legally stretch out my limbs.

Related Articles:

Encinitas Union School Yoga Sees Backlash, Parents Call It Religious Indoctrination

Parents May Sue Over Yoga Lessons In Encinitas Schools

Parents Object to Yoga Classes in Schools

Parents May Sue Over Yoga Lessons in Public Schools

 

It’s the Frightful and Elusive Worm Yeti!

Stay at home dads are being spotted on playgrounds all across America!  Once shunned from society, SAHD sightings have surpassed the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman if they’re the same guy.  (Though, the statistics are marred because some of the grizzly, unkempt SAHDs are occasionally mistaken for Yeti…)  Other SAHDs who have worn disguises for years, are finding increased acceptance.  They have tossed off their wigs and heels and can show their true selves to the public without being ridiculed and emasculated.  We are not ashamed to be SAHD anymore!  (Cue up the music…”It’s Raining Men!  Hallelujah it’s raining men!”)  It’s a new era for us!  You can’t spell millennium without M-E-N!  It’s impossible!  I’ve tried!

A few years back in history (because you can’t go forward), the Women’s Liberation Movement brought more women into the workforce.  Excited (and possibly hysterical) mothers dropped their aprons and hair nets to rush off into the working world.  With the mass exodus from the home, neglected irons melted pants, abandoned ovens burned bread, and worst of all, unsupervised children were left with no one to answer their cries for food and love.

Fortunately, the supersonic hearing and ninja-like instincts of fathers everywhere picked up the distress signals.  What summoned these “ordinary men” to spring out of their office chairs and back towards the home was the selfless desire to save mankind by rescuing the forsaken toddlers and babies of this fine country and investing in their livelihood.  Many fathers cast off their work uniforms exposing tight red underwear (very much unlike Spanx) and a matching red cape (Not terracotta, not chestnut, not fuchsia and certainly not amaranth.  RED!)  These heroes instantly dropped their work lives and flew (at the speed of sound, of course) home to put out the fires that their wives had so carelessly ignited.  Children were scooped up with one hairy powerful hand and soothed by the gentle manliness of the other.  Never before had young ones, families and the entire universe felt so safe.  And it’s getting safer as more fathers are staying home with their children.

Fathers all over the world continue to answer this call to be the noble stay-at-home parent.  So, the next time your workweek lunch break shows you a dad holding a child (or holding a beer, or even holding a child holding a beer), thank him or give him a corn dog or something.  Because it’s your future, the Earth’s future he is looking out for.

In the last ten years SAHDs have doubled, but the percentage of dads that stay at home are still small at 3.4%, according to Boston College Center for Work and Family.  To read an informative blog post that has a good point of view on the SAHD trend, click the article link below.  (Nanny.net also features information on finding a nanny near you, becoming a nanny, and information about nannies in general.)

Related Links:

Are Stay-At-Home Dads on the Rise? – Nanny.Net Blog

English: Bob Iger at the World of Color Premie...

English: Bob Iger at the World of Color Premiere Disney California Adventure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2015, foods that are advertised on Disney channels must meet some nutrition guidelines before getting airtime.  These nutrition guidelines have been established by the Disney corporation to demarcate healthy from junk food.  Since obesity is becoming such a problem for children in the U.S., Disney CEO Robert Iger wants to promote healthier foods and associate them with Disney characters in hopes that kids will start eating better.  This advertising campaign is one of the first of its kind in America from such a large corporation.

Hopefully, this nutritious move by Disney will get other large businesses and corporations to take notice.  It’s hard to keep kids away from the television.  (I know.  My Worm is already mesmerized by the boob tube and he’s only a year old.)  So controlling what kids watch becomes a large part of parenting.  Keeping kids from wanting Gummy Fudgy Chemical Candycanes after seeing 500 daily commercials of it becomes difficult.  As a parent, what are you going to do?  Turn off the TV between commercials?  It’s bad enough that commercials are allowed to increase their loudness to get your attention.  The not so subliminal messages affect kids because their brains are so spongelike and absorbent (like a Bounty paper towel).  The reason why such a move probably hasn’t happened before is that advertising pays bills.  And this is precisely the reason why TV networks have allowed almost any and everything to be aired between shows.  Money talks.

I’m in favor of this corporate move by Disney.  I’m happy that my kid won’t be completely brainwashed by the Disney media saturating his waking hours with junk food images.  (It may even get me to add cable TV to our house…ok, maybe not.)  I’d still much rather the powerful corporations make these types of changes rather than have our government do so.  Once the government gets involved, the many rules, regulations and clowns typically turn a good idea into a circus side-show act.  The majority of the responsibility though, should lie with the individual and in this case, the parents.

This is a Yummy Apricot All For Me! (Sorry for blurry.  I’m still trying to figure out how to work my camera!)

Obviously, food in America is a complex thing because we always want meals to be cheaper, faster, and better.  And in my lifetime, I’ve seen cheaper and faster become the mantra of American food, with better food becoming more difficult to find.  Cheaper, faster food now always gets more expensive later.  (Do you ever wonder why baby food and toddler food is usually organic, pure, natural, and artificial ingredient free?)

Original article:

Disney To Ban Junk-Food Ads For Kids As America Struggles With Its Fat Problem

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