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An open letter to Abbott Labs

Dear Abbott Labs,

I would like to start by saying “Thank You” for making Similac Sensitive.  It is a cornerstone of my child’s meals.  She loves it and is a healthy baby girl.  Sadly, this is not the point of this letter.  The reason I am moved to write to you is there is a horrible flaw in what would be a wonderful product.  The foil liner inside the sealed lid is absolutely a pain in the tail to remove.  It appears to be glued secured welded attached under a lip that protects it’s edges.

the tab in question

I don’t know if you put that pull tab on there as a joke or if it is just poorly designed, but it is absolutely useless!  Of the many, many containers just like the one above I have opened- I have yet to pull that tab and remove the foil liner.  I understand that the foil is to protect the product and I appreciate that.  However, I have to remove it in order to use the product my child so loves and that is no easy task.  When you pull on that tab it simply rips off.  I have tried every manner of removal- from slow and steady to quick and furious.  All with the same outcome- a hole in upper left corner of the container.

After the tab is removed, I can then attempt to remove the rest of the foil that is in a semi-permanently attached state.  I am a pretty handy man.  I can use tools, navigate my way through crib assemble instructions, and unwrap the smallest of nic naks.  However, This ordeal involves razor sharp  foil that has to be manually removed piece by pains taking piece.  The removal of said razor foil is akin to -I don’t know- removing razor wire from a top of a fence while on stilts.  Needles to say this practice is not that easy when you are holding a 5 month old child that wants his bottle something fierce.

Not only is it annoying and difficult- it is dangerous.  I mentioned the razor sharp foil that you have to manually remove…well, I will just show you.

This looks like a well made pull tab...

...crap!

 

ouch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep, it cut me as I was trying to remove the foil, after the handy dandy pull tab had ripped free.  I never thought that could happen but, it did.

In conclusion, I would like to request that the design of that foil pull tab be re-looked at, redesigned, or done away with.  Maybe my friends at Babycenter.com can use some baby muscle about this.  It is truly a pain in the…finger.

Sincerely,

-Matt

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Post Christmas Reflections

My Wife's Proposed Lighting Plan For Next Year

The tree has been put away or discarded.  The newly untangled lights start their year long re-tangling process.  The plastic Rudolphs, Santas, Jesuses ( I admit I do not know the plural of Jesus.), and plates with Frosty on them are all put into their storage containers and forgotten about by everyone for another 11 months.  Everyone except my wife.

Read the rest of this entry

Some Good Advice

Apparently, everyone who has ever had a child, changed a diaper, or can spell “child” is an expert on the care of, not only their children, but YOUR CHILD as well – AND- they have permission to touch your child WHENEVER they want!!!

FYI:  This drives the wife and I insane.

Here are some scenarios that have actually happened! Read the rest of this entry

… and the results are in!

Congrats!

Dethroning”Don’t put the babies in the Microwave” spoke by “person overheard in WalMart”, This year’s BABY TIP OF THE YEAR AWARD goes to…

Babycenter.com Read the rest of this entry

Gender Based Discrimination

Consider this hypothetical scenario:

You take an outing to the grocery store to buy food for your family.  Upon your arrival you see an empty parking spot RIGHT BY THE ENTRANCE.  Your mind screams, “SCORE!”  Your giddiness is smashed when you approach the parking spot and a sign reading “Reserved for customers who happen to be buying milk,”  staring you right in the face.  Your lactose intolerant body has betrayed you by its inability to digest a cow’s milk.  You curse your un-evolved stomach as you drive to the other side of the known world in search of a parking spot so you can feed your family.

HORRIFIC ISN’T IT.

As a new father, I am the victim of discrimination.  I, like all men, are discriminated against due to something that we can not control – our gender.  We men are not catered to when it comes to all things pregnancy.  When you have a spare 4 hours, enter your local book store and count all the books about being a good parent  that are written for women.  The next day when you have a spare 23 seconds, go back and count the books written for men who want to be a good parent.  It is a staggering difference.  You will find that many of the books written for women stress emotional bonding with your child coupled with research from years of child rearing.  The books written for men usually involve illustrations involving stick figures making less than happy faces while changing a diaper and some type of list.  The intellectual bias is staggering.  WAIT WAIT WAIT … men have earned this, haven’t they?  Raising a newborn is a woman’s job. Right?  Was that last sentence offensive to you?  It should be.  That feeling of “I KNOW YOU DIDN’T” that you are experiencing right now is what I felt when I saw this as I was pulling into a CHOICE parking spot yesterday.

I just needed milk, milk officer!

As I drove away to another spot, my mind would not leave this alone.  I mean why not change it to read “Stork Parking for New Parents and Mothers to Be”  Why choose to omit the father who is bringing his infant with him.  As I approached the doors, I decided to ask about that sign and what would happen if I, as a man, brought my infant to this store and dared to park my Jeep in that coveted spot.

Being a small town, I knew the woman who happened to be working when I came in.  With a smile, I asked about the sign and what would happen if I parked there with my new infant.  Flatly, she said, “nothing.”  Taken aback and shocked about the lack of penalty, I repeated the facts.  “So, I can park there as long as I have my kid with me.”  The reply was a firm, “Yep.”  I also asked the manager on duty, his comment was something similar to,” We at ___, want to provide the most comfort for our new mothers who shop with us…”  When he said the word “mothers” my eyebrow raised.  He saw the question coming, and said, “…and fathers.”  I thanked him and paid for my goods and went to my Jeep.

I looked at the sign as I drove away, and I felt worse.  Apparently, men who are fathers do not factor in the decision on what to have printed on signs that will be placed in front of stores nationwide?  They do not care if you, a man, park there but they will not nor even consider using a gender neutral word on the sign?  Are men such horrible parents to newborns that we aren’t even in the equation of consideration when it comes to preferred parking at stores?  Other places get it…

...again gender neutral

Gender Neutral...

…again gender neutral…

Why can’t men get the same billing in the parenting department?  Why do men get such a bad rap?  Has the world not evolved to the point that the man’s role in the parenting and care of a newborn is equal to that of women?

For instance, Canada

Some places get it.  Some fathers have ascended.  When will American men earn  respect of shop owners and corporate conglomerates and actually have a  DAD WITH CHILD PARKING sign considered?  I honestly think that those days are still far into the future.  Infants and newborns have a stigma attached to them.  Mothers care for the babies.  Men don’t. That very stigma is the cause of the discrimination I now face.

I don’t know what to do to combat the lack of respect that people of my gender face.  However, I do have an idea about what to do about those signs.

Vive la égalité!

Westminster Dog Show and Parenting School

As my dog was walking across the floor I realized that a dog food commercial was on the TV.  This commercial was endorsed by the Westminster Kennel Club.  That got Symon and I thinking about the Westminster Dog Show and the “contestants.”  The dogs are in competition ONLY because their owners make them.  If the owners left the stadium I believe the dogs would play and frolic like the happy little creatures they are.  No competition, no “Best in Show,” no excessive grooming, nothing that makes a dog not be a dog.

I think there is a lesson here.  Parents are guilty the world over of the crime of forcing their kids into dance competitions, baseball tournaments, twirling competitions (or twirl-offs as those in the know call em).  Parents or dog owners or whoever needs to let the kids be kids and the dogs be dogs.  Manufacturing competition where none naturally exists HAS to have its own ring in hell.

I hope I don’t push my kid into believing that competition is essential for EVERY or any DEFINING moment of her life.

Fear and Clothing in Parenthood

OK, OK, OK, I will admit it.  I am HORRIFIED about being a parent.  Well, not really ABOUT being a parent, but about me being a parent.  There are a few areas of parenting that are making  my tummy grumble.  My “later than usual” age is a concern, my apparent inability to maintain commitments, and my complete mental disconnect on the sizing of baby clothes are concerns that make my supper haunt me in the night.

Commitment

“Parenting is a life long commitment.”  Those words are in every “NEW PARENT” book I have read.  I think the parenting illuminati want that fact to sink in real good so you don’t forget it.  MESSAGE RECEIVED!  Since I have realized that this child will be a permanent facet of my life, some things have began to resurface.  Notably my past failures at honoring commitments.  Those that know me, or those that will openly admit in public to knowing me, would know that commitments are something that I have not been the best at keeping.  Let me elaborate a touch.   I can’t keep two socks together for more than a week.  I have to leave myself notes to feed my fish.  In 1992, I told my mom  that I would help her weed a flower bed.  Hasn’t happened…I hope she forgot.  I signed up for inter mural ultimate frisbee so my friends could actually field 11 players (I was #11)…I completely forgot, never went to one practice and have always wondered why those guys were suck dickheads that semester.

Now I will have a child.  I can’t forget to feed her.  I can’t forget to bathe her.  I can’t forget where she is.  I can’t forget that she can’t tell me what is wrong (at least for a while).  I can’t forget that this commitment is not something that I can casually forget when a motorcycle rides by and my brain has a mini-I WANT THAT-seizure. FINANCIAL ADVICE OF THE DAY *** BUY POST-IT NOTE STOCK *** I am going to need a lot of those little yellow pads.

Age Fears

This is what I am REALLY afraid of.  This hypothetical example of a picture of my daughter and I in the upcoming years.  I am currently 34 years old.  Macy and I will have a LARGE generation gap between us.  You think I am blowing it out of proportion? For those mathematically challenged here is a cheat sheet for ya.  Lets look at exactly how bad its gonna be.

Macy’s Age                                  My Age                                     My Situation

o                                                            34                                       All is under control

10                                                          44                                       1st knee replacement

20                                                          54                                       3rd knee replacement

30                                                          64                                        Looking for my teeth

40                                                           74                                Yelling at “kids” on the lawn

50                                                            84                               (I can’t think this far ahead)

Ya get it now?  I am going to be an out of touch codger when she is 18-30.  OMG I need to hire a large orangutan to follow her around and assault anyone who approaches her during my declining years.

ANYONE KNOW A GOOD PRIMATE ADOPTION AGENCY?

Understanding Baby Clothes

FYI future dads: Children’s clothes are not sized like everything else.  S, M, L, XL, and XXL do not apply to children’s clothes.  You need to take a class on this.  I am not even kidding!  For starters memorize this:

Age/Size Weight Length Bootie/Shoe Size Sock Size
Newborn Up to 7 lbs Up to 17″ N/A N/A
Up to 3 Months 7-12 lbs 17-23″ 3 Up to 6 Months
3-6 Months 12-17 lbs 23-27″ 4 Up to 6 Months
6-12 Months 17-22 lbs 27-29″ 5 6-12 Months
12-18 Months 22-27 lbs 29-31″ 6 12-24 Months
18-24 Months 27-30 lbs 31-33″ 7 12-24 Months

That chart will get you through the start but the Toddler Years have a system all to themselves. Here are some lines from other websites that are supposed to help decode this mess:

“Up until the age of 24 months, if an item

is labeled “12 months” or “18 months” without an age range, translate it to mean “9-12” or “1218” months. A size chart is

always more accurate than an

age range in determining the best fit for your child, but when there is no size chart, or even an age range, always select one size up from your child’s current age.”

Did you get that tip?  Easy to understand huh?  Here is another nugget of wisdom (* I DID NOT MAKE THIS UP):

The overlap between Toddler (2T, 3T, 4T, 5T) and Child (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Does this fit?

sizes is a little confusing, particularly because different brands have different criteria for distinguishing between the two size types:

– Some Toddler sizes are roomier in the bottom to accommodate diapers

– Some Child sizes are narrower and longer (Size charts will indicate this by showing a similar weight range but larger height range than the corresponding Toddler size)

– Some Child sizes are the exact same size as their Toddler counterparts, but have a different cut and style

SEE!! There is no consistent measure for baby’s clothes.  OMG, I am sooo screwed!

If you don’t believe me by now…Here is one last thought taken from a well respected parenting website.

“Buying baby clothes is a lot like playing the lottery; you hedge your bets on a number, and hope it’s the right one.”

Thank god my wife is smart.

A Parenting Quiz Yields Unintended Answers

In my ongoing quest to learn everything there is to know about becoming a parent (I know it is a futile gesture, but it makes me THINK I am being productive.) I decided to take a parenting quiz.

I figured that testing my newly acquired parenting knowledge could give me some feedback as to my “readiness” for this part of my life.  As I read the some of the  questions and the answer choices I noticed something…one or more of the answers is complete child abuse – either mental or physical or both.  You don’t believe me?  Look at this question:

5. It’s a Saturday and you’re going out with your little boy. You watch from a bench as he runs up and down the slide and plays with his friends. Then you watch him walk up to a man sitting on the bench across from you.
*Run after him and give your son a re-run of the “Don’t talk to strangers” lecture.
*Watch cautiously and wait until your son has stopped talking to him and continues playing. There are many people around. He wouldn’t do anything right?
*Walk casually up to your son and ask him a question or divert his attention (tell him that you are going to take him out for icecream or challenge him to go on the big slide, etc.) so that he would walk away from the stranger and sit down and talk to him about the safety rules that come into play whenever we go out.
*Walk up to him quickly and hold him by the ear as you drag him away, then yell at him, take him home, and promise never to take him anywhere ever again because he is stupid and he never listens.

Please note answer #4.  Here is the summary: Drag him by the ear while yelling ,because you just reduced his ability to hear by 1/2 by destroying the ear you are pulling on, at him about how stupid he is.

Does this really happen so much that it is a viable answer choice?  This pattern was repeated over and over in the quiz allowing you to resort to violence and child abuse OR suffer a mental breakdown for yourself.  Want an example?  Here ya go…

13. Today, after school, you went to your child’s school to pick him up. You showed up a bit early, so you are just watching the class as they are packing up their things and getting ready to go home. On the side, you can see your son and two of his friends playing with one of the class toys, a green dinosaur, and then you see that your son has pushed one of the other boys to the ground and took the toy from him. What would you do?
*Hold him by the ear and yell at him until you reach the car.
*Ask him why he did it, and explain that there is no good reason to hit anyone. Then make him apologize.
*Make him apologize and tell him that he is grounded and he cannot play any of his games for a week.
*Hit your head against the wall and cry because the world is ending.

This question dosen’t LIMIT you to auditory canal child abuse (#1) it allows you to have the choice of a mental breakdown(#4).  How thoughtful.  I am sure that the  kid in question appreciates that consideration.

I WANT to believe that these horrible choices are meant to be so SHOCKING that the quiz taker will never pick them and maybe remember this quiz when the impulse to destroy the child ear leaps into their mind when the “good china” gets broken.  However, I can’t help believe there are parents who resort to violence when a child disobeys, smarts off, or commits any infraction what so ever.

OK, I admit I know some parents that do leap to physical punishment over a more communicative and less painful method of compliance assurance.  Admit it,  you know them to, maybe not the same people, but the same type of people.  I think they are lazy parents and need to be more concerned with the development of the child rather than the 10 minutes of silence the physical abuse yields them or they want to be OBEYED that they will make sure that happens at any cost.

I have never SAID anything to any of them when they “disciplined” their child in front of me because:

1) I had no kids of my own.

2)  I don’t know what’s led up to this instance.

None the less, I knew that exchange between parent and child was wrong and I am positive my face reflected that.  Yet, I have never said anything.  So, I apologize to all the kids who have been disciplined in front of me in an inappropriate manner.  My silence is inexcusable.  I am typing this apology because I know you couldn’t hear me…due to the ear pulling and yelling.

I am going to try to not ever do anything to my child that hinders trust, fosters fear, or causes them physical pain in any way.  I know that people’s definition of abuse, discipline, corporal punishment differ.  However, I think that most impartial observers can tell when it goes too far.

Parenting is going to be hard but not hard on my kid.

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