Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dads + Baseball + Babies (Part 1)



Inspired by the awesome NYC Dads Group experience with our little ones at the Staten Island Yankees game yesterday...comes this Deadspin (authored by David Matthews) video montage of dads catching foul balls while holding their babies.  Not surprisingly, it is amazing to see the satisfaction & pure joy on dads face in these clips, but even more fun to zoom in on his child's reaction.  A special shout out to the Angry SAHD for forwarding this along.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DIGGING into Fatherhood

Thanks to Matt S. for continually steering us in the right direction on some amazing local parenting articles.  In Matt's words, this one is "outstanding."  I believe it to be some of the most relevant content regarding fatherhood and I am excited to share it with others as well.

As an at-home dad and very involved parent, I embrace parenting concepts like Equally Shared Parenting: Rewriting the Rules For a New Generation of Parents by Marc & Amy Vachon.  Equally Shared Parenting enables my wife and I to both "dig" into parenting so we reap it's countless rewards (and scary challenges).  We are teammates! 

Attention all parents! You MUST read Lisa Belkin's Motherlode Post, Parents as Teammates.  For one, it is a guest post written by Amy & Marc Vachon.  Two, it is powerful, easy to relate to, and full of truth.  One of those articles you read, where you catch yourself continually nodding your head in agreement.  Lastly, the Vachon's offer very practical advice that most parents can try out (even though it will be a challenging task for many families).  Yep, they gently nudge the mom's to start supporting dad as equal status and poke the dads to start digging into fatherhood.  For dad: "This means getting busy getting competent. Here we have the same principle that works everywhere else in life — at work, in sports, in the bedroom: success and enjoyment come not from faking one’s way through the motions, but from knowledge, skills development, and experience."



Satisfaction doesn’t happen if he takes the easy way out when the going gets tough — when the kids scream to bring back Mom at bath time, when Mom seems so much “better” at packing a toddler-friendly lunch or handling a tantrum or when faced with a whole weekend of solo parenting. It won’t work to simply mimic how others act either; he needs to develop his own sustainable style of relating to his kids. Hiding behind apathy or incompetence is a lonely way of life. Getting good at anything worthwhile makes anyone feel great — because it is authentic.


Sure, this advice may be easier for dads in my position who are already the primary caregiver, but all dads should read this with an open mind.  You will be glad you did...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Balancing Act on the Home Front

It's reassuring to see more headlines about the growing trend where wives (or women) are earning more about their husbands...since this is the situation in our household.  I have been comfortable with it from day one, but it is even better to see that there are so many families in a similar situation.  USA Today's Weekend edition (thanks Bruce) took on this topic head on offering specific advice for men, for women, and for the couple in situations When Wives Earn More.  Finding A New Balance: A growing percentage of wives earn more than their spouse, and their families are doing just fine, by Jean Chatzky.

I thought the article offered some sound advice for families (like ours) in this situation, such as accepting your spouse's parenting skills and banking online to even the money/power playing field in the home.

Accept your spouse's parenting skills.

Even as she amped up her work hours, Tara Dai had trouble letting go of some child-related tasks that mothers were “supposed” to do, such as taking the kids to the pediatrician and helping them with their homework.  In fact, Meers says, it's in these areas that entertaining a new perspective can be the most enlightening. “The style differences can be really helpful,” she says. “When one parent is about to go bananas because a child won't eat or something, the other parent will have another way of dealing with it.”


Bank online.
Research has shown that for two-thirds of people, money represents power. The more you share this belief, the better the likelihood that changing income dynamics will wreak havoc at home. Why? Because it puts the higher earner in charge — and marriages work best when power is balanced.  To even the playing field, take a step back from the paycheck. Have it direct-deposited into a bank account that you both can access online so you both can keep track of your money in real time.  If you maintain individual accounts as well (more below on why this is a good idea), decide together how much money will be transferred from the main joint account into those accounts and how often such transfers will be made. Finally, have those transfers executed automatically every time you get paid.

If you found the advice in the article to be trivial or nothing special, please feel free to share your helpful tip for families where the wife is the breadwinner...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Daily News Focuses on At-Home Dads: From Payday to Playdate

For first time visitors - Welcome!  NYC Dads Group is a diverse community of almost 250 at-home dads and other active fathers seeking an opportunity to socialize and support each other as they navigate parenthood. Dads and their kids meet at least weekly at various venues around the city including museums, theaters, parks, zoos, indoor play-areas, and parent-and-me classes. The group also organizes meaningful parenting workshops and other enrichment activities for members and their families. This blog is an extension of the group & a DESTINATION offering ALL involved fathers interesting thoughts, relevant news articles, local dad happenings, and playgroup information.
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Today, the Daily News published an article on at-home dads-FROM PAYDAY TO PLAYDATE: Whether By Choice or Because of the Recession, More Dads are Staying at Home With the Kids by Tripp Whetsell.  The writer joined the NYC Dads Group at a daddy & me art class event and at a local playground in Union Square to capture the essence of dads hanging out with their kids during the day.  The result is a feel-good story focusing on five of the dads in the group with different career backgrounds.  I can't say that this is the most in-depth piece you will ever read on at-home dads.  However, the writer does a good job in providing many local families with a window into what our awesome dad-ternity is like, explains some of the rewards and pitfalls of the role, that a dynamic community of dads (with very diverse backgrounds) does exist in New York City, and hopefully, provides another avenue for all involved fathers to find us (even though the writer did not include our site url).   Dads, What are you waiting for? Join us...

Disclosure:  It's ironic that becoming an at-home dad is what landed me in the Daily News business section...not working in finance for 10 years at major retail corporations - go figure.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Should Parents Still Have Faith in What They Buy For Their Kids?

If you have been paying attention, there has been a lot of recent activity at the Consumer Product Safety Comission (CPSC), with new rules on baby cribs, walkers, bath seats, etc. Do parents still have faith in what they buy for their kids, after so many recalls? Does some of the new moves by federal officials help to restore your trust in the things you buy for your kids?

At the heart of these new regulations, are the need to address major hazards with drop-side cribs and crib mattresses.  Safety Regulators Have New Urgency Over Baby Products by Liz Szabo, USA Today, was published today to heighten awareness among more parents.  Szabo is a great journalist and has a knack for exploring important parenting issues with depth and interesting angles.  I imagine many of us are parents with young children that sleep in drop-size cribs, so there is a sense of genuine urgency and concern here.

"It would be nice to know that these products are evaluated ahead of time, before something goes wrong," Lin says.

Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in 2008 partly to break the cycle of recalls. The law requires the safety commission to set new safety standards for cribs and other nursery staples.
"Thirty-two families have lost children (in the past nine years) because of these drop-sides," Tenenbaum (of the CPSC) says. "Waiting until there is an injury or accident is not the most effective way to ensure safety."

The article does mention that certain retailers (i.e. Babies R' Us) have already stopped selling drop-size cribs even though the new regulations are not scheduled to take effect until next Summer.  Also, worth checking out, are Szabo's notes about using safer products like cordless blinds, and avoiding sweatshirts with drawstrings,.

Also, worth noting about the article, is an interesting observation made by Matt S.  John Lin, featured in the story, is an example of an active father. Matt said, "I'm really happy that we (dads) are being included in this kind of piece that doesn't differentiate between fatherhood and motherhood."  Surely, USA Today could have featured a mom in the piece and we wouldn't have thought twice about it.  Special mention for John Lin's contribution here... and that he is one of our NYC Dads Group members!

NYC Dads Group to be featured on NHK's, "Good Morning Japan"

NYC Dads Group is going GLOBAL this afternoon! We partnered with NHK, the Japanese equivalent of the BBC, to display how our community of dads engages with our kids & each other. Broadcast live from NY every Thursday afternoon for NHK’s morning news program, “Good Morning Japan,” is the most watched morning news show in Japan. Japan is 13 hrs ahead of EST, so our segment airs live in Japan Friday morning.

We have participated in our most comprehensive parenting segment thus far and it won't even be aired in the U.S. (unless you subscribe to NHK Japan premium channel via Time Warner cable). As Matt S. stated matter of factly, "sometimes we look for the gold ring of paternal involvement in Scandinavia & don't realize that the U.S. is much farther ahead than other countries like Brazil and Japan." NHK's goal is to display involved fatherhood in the U.S. for parents in Japan. They have captured a dads night out, joined us at a daily outing at the Prospect Park Zoo, filming one of the dads in his home with his working wife, and joining a few of us this afternoon for a 3-minute live shot (the culminating piece to the other pre-taped segment). NYC Dads Group are very excited about the opportunity for us to share our community of dads with another country like Japan.


Wish us luck...

Modern Dad's Dilemma



Big thanks to Matt S. for sharing this great segment with us!  ABC News aired an intriguing parenting segment (clip above) - Modern Fatherhood - where John Badalament, author of The Modern Dad's Dilemma, explains to dads how to stay connected with your kids.

Through this interview, Badalament explains that the overall theme here "is the desire that dads have to be closer with their own kids."  His aim is for dads to be more forward thinking about parenting.  In his book, he asks dads to create a vision statement - something they aspire to be as a father 20 years from now.  So many of us live in the moment and you have to respect Badalament's approach here for fathers.  I also admire his vision of dads not just getting to know our kids, but that the relationship be reciprocated.  It should be our mission as fathers to ensure that our kids really get to know us too (via sharing frequent stories about our childhood and describing the relationship we had with our own fathers)!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

At-Home Dads Couldn't Be Happier!

My son just turned two and that marks two years under my belt as a "modern man" - a stay at home dad.  It sounds like a long time, but I am just a "newbie" compared to many seasoned veterans in the world of at-home dads.  Take Al Watts (a stay at home dad of 4 kids) & Robb Tavill (at home dad of 4 year-old twins) for instance.  These two involved fathers and veteran at-home dads from the dynamic Lincoln Omaha Dads Group were featured in an ABC segment this week titled, Stay-at-Home-Dads Couldn't Be Happier.  In the grueling heat of summer in New York City, it's nice to learn what other dads groups are up to around the country - in this case, a couple of dads horsing around with their kids in a refreshing pool.  Totally envious!

I think you'll agree that these smooth characters do a fantastic job of representing at-home dads nationwide as well as dispelling some of the myths & stereotypes via this positive segment.  Huge props to Robb, Al, & the entire LinOma clan.  See you fellas in October at the convention!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Daddy Brain - A Follow-up Story on Today Show



A few weeks ago, Liz Szabo of the USA Today, published an in-depth article about the Daddy Brain, and how dad's brain goes through a hormonal shift during the nine months leading up to pregnancy.  This topic is based on recent research by Dr. Louann Brizendine, author of The Male BrainThe Male Brain.

This morning, the Today Show, ran a follow-up segment to Szabo's article, titled Daddies-to-Be Experience Prengnancy Too (see above clip).  Hats off to two of the expectant fathers in the NYC Dads Group that participated in the segment: Dorien Brown & Zack Rubinstein.  These guys did a great job of sharing their candid feelings about what is going in their brains/lives in the days leading up to their children being born.  You know these guys are going to be involved fathers since they joined a dads group before even having children!  Kudos to the Today Show as well for becoming more progressive and airing segments like this one and the one last week on working moms/stay at home dads.

Lastly, congratulations to Dorien, who is no longer a father-to-be.  He and his wife welcomed their new son since the taping of the segment - Chauncey Harlem Brown was born July 1, 2010 at 7lbs 13oz.  The dads group & I look forward to meeting Chauncey soon!

Friday, July 16, 2010

"The Stay at Home Dad" on Comedy Central


We know there are too many stereotypes out there about Stay-At-Home Dads.  What happens when a humorous stay-at-home dad decides to create a comedy to poke fun at the role? Well, you might agree that you shouldn't like these video clips...but, come on, they are really hilarious!  Matt S. put us onto this comedian.  The star of these clips is Brandon, an at-home dad of 2 boys (with another on the way) as well as an NYC Dad.  Not only does this creative dad star in these pilot segments, but he also wrote them!  You can find more of them on Comedy Central's website ATOM.com.  What do you think?


Thursday, July 15, 2010

What Does It Mean To Be An "INVOLVED" Father?

The most frequently used term in this blog is "involved father."  I use it almost daily in the blog, quite often in my parenting conversations, and believe that I live it (almost) everyday with my son .  Heck, it's even in our web tagline mantra. NYC Dads Group: The destination for involved fathers as they navigate parenthood.

So, What does it mean to be an involved father? Well, I went to the research experts and found this to be the best resource out there to describe in great detail what many of us are living & experiencing on a daily basis with our kids.  The University of Florida IFAS Extension - EDIS, published a comprehensive paper: Being an Involved Father: What Does It Mean? by Kate Fogarty and Garret D. Evans.  The paper addresses quite eloquently such topics like defining father involvement, how much involvement is enough, spending quality time vs. quantity, being involved in all phases of your child's life, not to confuse providing with loving, and having a plan to become more involved.  The opening excerpt defining involved fatherhood is below.

Father involvement is defined as men's "positive, wide-ranging, and active participation in their children's lives" (Marsiglio et al., 2000, p. 276). Being an involved father can be defined in many more ways (Pleck & Masciadrelli, 2004; Marsiglio, 2006).

Father involvement means:
•direct interaction between a father and child (play, caretaking);
•accessibility, or how available a father is to his child when needed;
•responsibility, or managing and providing resources for a child (doctor's appointments, supplementing family income or child support);
•building of social capital, or how fathers provide a support network for children as they grow up to contribute to society.


These are all ways in which a father shows he is involved in his child's life. The first two ways involve direct interaction between fathers and children and the last two ways are more indirect ways that fathers stay involved in their children's lives. Father involvement also changes with the age and stage of the child. For example, fathers take on a nurturing role with infant children, but act more as "teachers" in the toddler years (Palkovitz & Palm, 2009).

There was a lot of interesting content in the entire research report.  If you don't have the time to scan it or read the entire piece, let me share the message that hit me the hardest. This excerpt was included in the conversation about providing vs. loving your child. 

There is a maxim, "I've never seen a tombstone that read, 'I wish I'd spent more time at work'." The message is that, as we grow older, most of us wish we would have spent more time with our families and less time trying to get ahead at work. In the same way, rarely does a child say, "I wish my dad spent more time at work."


More than anything in the world, children want their parents' attention and love. Further, research shows that when children receive positive attention from and healthy interaction with their parents, they do better in most all aspects of their lives (home, school, work, etc.) than children who do not receive this attention. This occurs regardless of how much money they have or the type of neighborhood they live in. So remember, being a good father doesn't mean making sure your child has all the best toys, or lives in the best neighborhood. It means making sure your child has all the benefits of having you in his or her life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NYC Dads Group on Today Show: The Modern Family


The Today Show aired a progressive segment this morning on stay at home dads & working moms.  The segment, intelligently titled The Modern Family, included a more personal spotlight on my family (as opposed to a focus on the NYC Dads Group)- my wife Jessica, my son Jake, & I were all willing participants.  This segment had the promise to start shifting the at-home dad conversation moving BEYOND Mr. Mom...and I thought the Today Show did a really nice job of delivering on that message. Yep, included my bit about being termed "modern men" or "involved father" as opposed to some other terms splashed around by the media.

At the segment's outset, Hoda commented, "if you're tuned in today from home and taking care of your kids, there is a good chance that you are a dad."  Thanks for recognizing that fact!  The piece included equity in hearing both sides of the modern family story - my wife sharing her two cents on the emotional piece of being away at work everyday and me describing what life is like on the daddy-front.  There was balance on the different perspectives and range in discussing some of the rewards/challenges.  There is a lot to dissect from this packaged segment that included a back to the studio live discussion with authors Jeremy Adam Smith (groundbreaking author of The Daddy Shift) and Stacy Kaiser (How To Be a Grown Up).  Truth be told, it was awesome to be included in a segment including Jeremy Smith because he truly understands the big picture here - just read his book. 

I would have subtracted the use of Stacy Kaiser, especially throwing out her view on dads feeling emasculated (getting old already), but I understand the show was going for equity on this one.  That said, I will praise Smith for disagreeing with Kaiser, and clearly stating that "the big story here is the degree to how the stigma (of at-home dads) is disappearing.  The dads are not alone on the playgrounds anymore and they are forming communities...providing options for dads."  Even host, Willie Geist, concurred in his closing comments that the "stigma is starting to crack a bit."
I am not an expert, but will offer my food for thought here.  If you are considering becoming an at-home dad (an extremely challenging role, but with limitless reward), there are three main factors your family should consider:
1. You have to really want to do it!  Sure, you might be nervous about it, but you have to want it and embrace it internally.
2. Your wife/partner has to completely support the idea!  They have to stand behind you the entire time - for good & bad.
3. Financially, your family has to be able to budget properly and make things work with the support of a single income.
*All three factors need to be present for your role to be most successful.

Lastly, for those of you that watched the segment, welcome to NYC Dads Group: The Destination for Involved Fathers as They Navigate Parenthood by offering interesting thoughts, quality content, news articles, and playgroup information. This blog is an extension of a meet-up group of nearly 250 active fathers who enjoy meeting weekly and spending quality time with their children during the day.  I know the segment mentioned the NYC Dads Group is an at-home dads group, but we are much more than that.  We welcome all involved fathers - expectant dads, working dads, dads who work part-time, teachers, etc.

As a participant in the segment, it is not always easy to praise it properly or critique it.  Please share your comments...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Are You Dads Stressed Out?

As a married guy before kids, I rarely argued with my wife.  Sure, we differed in opinions on what movie we should see, what to prepare for dinner, or other unimportant topics, but rarely had serious arguments.  Now, with a two year old, we still don't argue much.  When we do argue, it usually revolves about parenting. We both make difficult compromises to ensure that we spend quality time with our child, alone time for sanity reasons, and couple time to enjoy our social life/privacy away from our kid.  Work-life balance is stressful and quite challenging to maintain for both of us, especially my hard-working wife.  I know it will be difficult for me as well when I re-enter the work force in some capacity in the future.

It is interesting to see more research being completed on addressing topics like how parenting is affecting dad's work life-balance, what it means to him to be a good father, and is his job still the driver of his identity?  Matt S. provided this recent article for us to review: Now, Dad Feels as Stressed as Mom by Tara Parker Pope of the NY Times.  The engaging article includes some interesting analysis of recent research studies, especially one focusing on a recent Boston College study termed "the New Dad."  Even though the debate about balancing work and family life has been a primary issue for women for decades, the new study "suggests that new fathers face a subtle bias in the workplace, which fails to recognize their stepped-up family responsibilities and presumes that they will be largely unaffected by children."  If you really have a lot of time on your hands, check out the entire Boston College Study - The New Dad: Exploring Fatherhood in a Career Context.

The findings should mark a shift in the views that employers have of dads in their companies.  However, that line of thought will be veeeeerrrrrry slow in taking the shape of any significant change in the workplace.  I can't say that I am completely surprised by all of the findings because I hear about several of these issues from my working dad friends.  Yes, they often lie to their employer about taking their child to the pediatrician, instead stating that "they (the dad) have a doctors appointment."  The article terms this as "doing it in stealth fashion." Yes, fathers are not always truthful with an excuse when they have to pick up a sick child from school or daycare or attend a parent-teacher conference.  Sure, I agree that this is somewhat new territory for many dads and they may be afraid to ask for help in some cases as well as lack more role models who have paved the way.  That is why the documented findings about this research is so exciting. It is nice to hear and learn that many fathers are going through many of the same challenges even if we don't always talk about it publicly with each other.
If learning about dads being stressed out as a result of parenting does not capture your interest (or depress you)...then, perhaps you might better enjoy the latest cover story of New York Magazine: I Love My Children.  I Hate My Life. The Misery of the American Parent by Jennifer Senior.  A lengthy article that addresses the cheerful question, Why does study after study show that having kids make people less happy?  That should really brighten your mood!  Happy Monday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why Dads Groups Should Be More Inclusive...

From time to time, I get the opportunity to be a "guest blogger" over at Daddyshome, Inc. - the National At-Home Dads Network.  Read my latest rant on addressing why dads groups across the country should become more inclusive and open our doors to all fathers.  Feel free to post a comment to let us know what you think...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Parents Magazine and Expectations of Dads - "the New Neither"

The great news is that here have been a torrent of articles in recent weeks on fathers (yep, even after Father's Day).  Matt S. sent this one my way, & we consider it one of the best and most relevant articles we have seen lately.   In Parents Magazine (by Paul Scott), is The Responsibilities and Expectations of the New American Dad: Fathers are expected to do more than ever. Do they feel like they're measuring up? We got their honest take.  Excerpt below:

Many men today are what I'll call "the new neither," neither stay-at-home dads nor primary breadwinners but guys who work a little and parent a little and likely spend a fair amount of time worrying about not doing so hot at either. Take my situation: My better-educated wife makes a nice salary in a rewarding, stable career. I make less than she does in a flexible job that is taking a beating in the downturn. The cost of child care being prohibitive for us, on most days I'm the one doing the juggling act: serving up the Wheaties, making sure the minivan is fit for driving, and keeping my share of the pay coming in. But I am nothing special.

Since we no longer think of the NYC Dads Group as a Stay at-home-dads group, but a vibrant and active group of involved fathers, I am interested to hear some of you chime in with your thoughts on this one. Are you the "new neither?" Are you measuring up to expectations? Did you even realize that there are now higher expectations? Do you care?  Do you get your identity from your job?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

NYC Dads and Kids Riff with WeBop: Jazz at Lincoln Center

This week's guest blog post is from Peter B., who had an absolute blast with his son Alfie, at WeBOP, a musical jazz experience for parents with their kids at Lincoln Center.  on behalf of the NYC Dads Group, here is Peter's review...

So a saxophone is a saxophone is a saxophone. Or so you may think, but not before my 3 year old son corrects you. Thanks to a highly educational and extremely enjoyable New York Dads meet-up today, he now understands that there is a difference between a soprano saxophone and an alto saxophone. And thanks to his big presentation in music and pictures, he knows that John Coltrane was pretty mean at playing either.


And so we notched up another successful outing with the NYC dads group, an introduction to Jazz at the Lincoln Center with WeBop. Equipped with shakers and tambourines, we shaked and we danced to a few jazz riffs courtesy of the soothing voice of our host and her trusted man on the piano. We even had a dad bring his mouth organ (Patrick on his harmonica) to get some practice in before his America’s got talent audition. What a group of guys!

Keeping toddler’s music classes fresh and innovative is essential to preventing the class from disintegrating into a car crash of a scene resembling a bunch of soda-infused kids on the dance floor at the end of a wedding party. As we moved through the jazz repertoire and my son’s questionable dancing had developed into unquestionable just running around the hall in circles, the class went to the next level. All the children were given a crayon and invited to "feel the music" and draw on a single huge sheet of paper. With an array of colours and shapes, our pianist deciphered the picture and set it to music. Truly genius. The ability to read music without a line or a clef in sight.

Providing some relevance to the children, our host then sung Goodnight Moon to music. Just holding up the familiar book was enough to draw in her young audience to sit at her feet, adding yet another layer of positive association to our children's first jazz experience.

Keeping the dads on their toes, we had a quick round of Name that Tune. Full marks to the Dads for spotting the intro to ‘My Favourite Things’. There’s nothing uncool about an at-home dads group, its hip to quote from the Sound of Music. ‘Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens’. Not really what rocks our kid’s world nowadays though. And so that led us neatly into our host’s closing party trick, a quick-fire round-the-room free for all as the dads shouted out their kids' favourite things. And with no rehearsal and just a little poetic license, our host brilliantly re-wrote and performed ‘My favourite things’ with personalised lyrics for the group (see above photo by Colby).

I can’t pretend to remember the lyrics, although I do recall it included kitty-cats and moms, but needless to say,

‘When the day’s long, when your child’s bored, when you’re feeling sad.

You simply hook up with NYC dads meet up group, and then you won’t feel so bad.’

Thanks to the Jazz at the Lincoln Center,WeBop! Class for inviting us in today. Hopefully, they’ll be rewarded with a few uptakes from within the dads group and other parents reading this review when the class resumes in the fall.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Playground Utopia Hits New York City

The nicer weather motivates me to venture out for new playground experiences.  We have combed the entire Upper East Side the past few weeks, and stumbled upon some favorites: 1. the newly remodeled Ancient Playground (85th & 5th) near the MET has some great pyramid-like climbing structures and a cool water area to get wet.  2. the new Asphalt Green playground (91st & York) has a modern sand pit, a child-sized house for the kids to play in, swings, and more.  3. the Lab School Playground (96th & Lexington) is a learning experience - themed around the longest rivers of the world, this sprayground has water shooting up through a large-scale map of the world, sending the water down a river that navigates the entire length of the playground.  Of course, I am bias to the playgrounds in my hood.

 
That said, for those of you adventurous enough to take a playground tour of NYC or taking a staycation this Holiday Weekend, check out New York Magazine's special feature on Playgrounds Gone Wild.  The article provides a menu of options of 19 different playgrounds, for kids with all tastes.  Interestingly, the theme of most playgrounds these days is that they have "rediscovered the joys of risk." They have become "less predictable, more imaginative, and more complex" resulting in more thrills for the kids! 


Of course, the article highlights the overhyped, Union Square Playground.  However, the one that captured my attention most is the brand new, Pier 6-Brooklyn Bridge Park Playground.  It's Good To Be A Kid makes it sound like a paradise.


Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Furman St. at Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights


Short of the actual beach, you won’t find another sand-and-water-scape this big and enticing in New York. The newest park on the Brooklyn waterfront features a 6,000-square-foot plot of gust-resistant sand interspersed with climbable tortoises, frogs, and chickens, child-size houses, a “town well,” and a water-spitting boulder. There are also some fantastic swings—21 of them, in fact, including planks, tires, and circular-spinning Tarzan fliers.
 
Reading an article like this and enjoying the current weather in New York City, gives me the itch to get more creative in planning my playground destinations.  I have no doubt that the NYC Dads Group will have to heed the call & venture over to experience Pier 6, Hechscher Playground, Teardrop Park, and more in the coming weeks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What Type of Child Are Your Raising?

Have you often pondered, what type of child are you raising?  Will my little one be respectful, be generous, be outgoing, be a brat?  My little guy is only two, but I work hard on my child-rearing skills - some rough play, modeling appropriate behavior on the playground and in the playgym, brushing his teeth, reading together often, giving him plenty of room for self exploration, etc.  Even though, I fast forward once in a while to predict what type of young man my son going to turn out to be, not once have I considered if I was raising a douchebag!


Credit to Robert J. for passing on this amusing article from Details Magazine (one of my favorites from my college hey day), Are You Raising a Douchebag? by David Hochman, questioning whether "your indulgent parenting is spawning a generation of entitled hipster brats." Basically, the article explains that if your little one is a brat, and you are looking for an explanation of how it happened - take a hard look in the mirror at yourself!
Put it this way: If it's your child, not you, who gets to choose your weekend brunch spot, or if he's the one asking how the branzino is prepared, it's probably time to take a hard look at your own behavior....Alas, convenient as it might be, we can't blame the children. "There's no such thing as a spoiled gene," says parenting expert Michele Borba, author of Don't Give Me That Attitude! "The brat factor is all learned." Which means that if you're the dad pushing Junior around in a limited-edition Bugaboo stroller by Bas Kosters ($2,000), carrying a Louis Vuitton diaper bag ($1,380), and checking in at a members-only parenting club like Citi-babes in Manhattan (annual membership: $2,000), your offspring are probably developing some serious entitlement issues.


Ok, so I sport a Bugaboo (not the limited edition), and tote around my charcoal gray Skip-Hop Bag ($60), and I am a member of Gymboree (no annual fee).  Hmmm, not sure that adds up to douchebag, but I better watch it!  Seriously, I don't think my son is a brat, but not many parents would own up to it anyway.  Good thing too, because I know we can't afford the $1,200/day parent-coach to fix his behavior.  This extremely dad-friendly article is one worth reflecting upon, even if it's with a smug grin on your face.


Just wondering...I am familiar with Citi-babes (as the NYC Dads Group has been there for an awesome event), but have you guys really observed these LV diaper bags on the streets?

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