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The Parenting Playlist 001: Origin Story

This is a time of year for resolutions. We all know the drill: pause, reflect, think ahead, resolve. The unspoken final step in this whole process doesn’t really pop up until after the new year has passed, after all the parties are done, after all of that the joy, love, and optimism have faded into slush and deadlines. That’s when the last resolution step finally kicks in: you forget.

That’s not to say all resolutions are left behind. In 2008 I had one clear resolution that I staggeringly proclaimed to everyone who would listen on new years eve. I boldly pronounced: “This will be the year that I get married”. Three days into the year I crossed that one off the list. Emboldened by my resounding success, my resolution for 2009 was a little more risqué. I laughed at Fortune’s fickle face as I described my surely soon-to-happen triumph, “This will be the year that I get my first novel published”. Three years later, I’m about to renew that resolution once again.

That's not a big deal; new year’s resolutions come and go. But what if it’s not a new year that you are starting? What if it is a new life?

In October of this year my partner informed me that we had done just that. The two of us had created a new life.

Posted by Mark Kowgier

How to Raise A Little Geek

A Death Star, drawn by my five year old.

As a parent, there are many days when things go very badly, days when you feel you are not cut out for raising cats, let alone tiny humans. But then some days you beam with pride knowing you got it right. My five-year-old twin sons are nice to each other (unless a dispute over Matchbox cars arises). They try new foods (unless they look icky). They always let me finish my requests before they ignore them. And now, now they are learning to be good geeks.

It all started so simply. My husband and I were minding our own business playing Angry Birds on our iPads. Our sons, future geeks that they are, were instantly attracted to the buttons, sounds, and pictures. It was as if they were born to understand a touch screen. And oh how we laughed at those silly piggies and crazy birds. The sound of wood crashing and wingless birds smashing was the sound of family time. As each new iteration became available, we had one more carrot to dangle in front of our future nerds.

And then it happened. Angry Birds Star Wars was released. The boys had already taken to Angry Birds Space like, well, like geeks to video games. We had been having some fabulous discussions about space travel and planets. We even watched the NASA video demonstrating how the birds would move in space. We had implanted an idea. Space = cool.

I figured they would just see the Star Wars game as another space mission, but I underestimated the nerd blood that pulses through their veins. As soon as the title cards scrolled on the screen in that familiar pattern, they instinctively knew this was something special. We had made space even better. The birds had names. The planets were different and wonderful. There was a story that Mommy and Daddy told with each new discovery.

And now, here we are; we have two boys who spend their free time at school drawing the Death Star and Tie Fighters. To say I'm proud would be an understatement.

Having successfully indoctrinated the boys into one of our geek loves, we know we can add others. You can too; here's how.

Posted by Stephanie Ross

Upgrading Sleep Mode to Self-Activate

Photo via Slightly Winded on Flickr

Ever wish your toddler was as easy to deal with as, say, your iPhone? Brett R. Kuhn, Ph.D., and Joe Borgenicht, D.A.D. knows how you feel. Like an instruction manual for an advanced gadget, The Toddler Owner’s Manual provides step-by-step directions and tips to train (and troubleshoot) your kid. The following is a detailed primer on getting your toddler to sleep on his own:

Posted by Caroline Mills

Mastering the Art of Multitasking

Photo via The Hudson Family on Flickr

You did have a life before you were a mom, so you probably know quite a bit about multitasking. The one-handed approach allows you to do a whole slew of tasks, even with a babe in arms. The Rookie Mom’s Handbook by Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss has the tip:

Posted by Caroline Mills

Handling the New Baby

Local author Chris Illuminati and son

Some parents have the knowledge and the instincts down before their first child even arrives in the world. Others (like me if I ever have a child) will need a complete and detailed instruction book.

Let’s cover some basics today, from The Baby Owner’s Manual.

Handling the New Baby: Always wash your hands before handling the baby. Human skin contains bacteria that, when transferred to the baby, can cause him to function improperly. If you do not have access to soap and water, disinfect your hands with a baby wipe.

Picking Up the Baby

– Slide one hand under the baby’s neck and head to support them. In the first weeks, the baby’s neck has minimal function. Until it strengthens, handle the baby with care to prevent undesirable “flopping” of the head.

– Slide your other hand under his bottom and spine.

– Lift the baby close to your body.

Caution: When laying the baby down, always support the baby’s head with your hands, and ensure that the surface you put him on will support his head and neck.

Passing the Baby: During the baby’s first two months of life, the immune system is extremely fragile. It is recommended that you limit the number of visitors during this period. Before passing the baby to another person, be sure this person has washed his or her hands.

When one user wishes to pass the baby off to another, or when friends and family come to visit, use the following techniques to keep the baby safe.

– Use one hand to support the baby’s head and neck. Your other hand should support the baby’s bottom and spine.

– Have the other person cross his or her arms.

– Set the baby’s head and neck in the crook of one arm. Instruct the other person to support the baby’s head.

– Place the baby’s body into the crossed arms.

Posted by Courtney Daniels

How To Con Your Kid: Get Your Kid To Share

Photo by Andre Chinn

Are the kids in the room? Can you read this without being disturbed?

This is info your kids don’t want you to know. From How To Con Your Kid, here are a few pointers on how to pull a fast one over on the little ones.

Posted by Eric Smith