Online Education = The Only College for True Fathers?

Almost 3 years ago I completed a college degree at the local university. I and many of my cohorts were lucky enough to find a program that was full-fledged and offered in the evening. Within the cohort (the group of students that started and finished the degree at about the same time and shared most of the same classes) there were quite a few parents and a few became parents during our degree pursuit. None of the new or pre-existing parents failed to complete the degree and I think this was a direct result of the structure of the program.

Again my program was a night program and so I could actually see myself doing this now with Lex in my life, but there are many parents who don’t have such a program available to them in the area they wish/need to study. This is where an Online Degree can enter the equation. I can’t vouch for the apparent yet completely relative simplicity and obvious time savings by the lack of commute, but I can tell you that I have taken a few online courses and they went pretty well. I actually still remember much of the teachings (which cannot be said of all of my attended courses) and I overall enjoyed the experience. If this interests you I highly recommend that you pursue only Accredited Online Degrees, because although other programs might fit your lifestyle if they are not accredited then they may be a waste of your time and money.

Even something as technical as Online engineering degree is a possibility. I have also recently come across Westwood College which has a curriculum with such majors as construction management and includes the ability for students to attend a traditional campus in locations across the United States or attend online courses which can accommodate even the busiest of schedules.


Baby, Infant, Toddler, Parenting Freebies

I have been hooked on since 2000. Over the years it has probably saved me hundreds of dollars directly and even earned my at least a thousand through miscellaneous offers. Anyway, the value of FatWallet was never stronger than when we were preparing for Lex’s birth. I found a forum topic there titled “Baby Freebies” that was invaluable.

It seems that the topic was not maintained in the last year or so and so it fell into FW’s archives. Since I wanted to share it with you all I decided to revive it. Hopefully I will have the time to see it through to complete up-to-dateness; however, I expect that my fellow FatWalleters (and perhaps even some of you) might help build it back up.

Please check the new FW topic titled “Official Baby and Early Parenting Freebies Thread (revived)“. Already there is a list of at least 10 freebies for parents and parents-to-be to request.


Nighttime Routine Suggestion: Hum the Same Tune

Something about Japan that always puts a smile on my face is that many stores play “Auld Lang Syne” when they are closing. When my son was very young and I started to give him his nighttime bottle routinely I decided to augment his bedtime routine a little more by humming the same tune each time there was only one tune that seemed appropriate.

1.5 year later Lex’s mother and I still hum “Auld Lang Syne” to him as he drinks down his final bottle (yes, a bottle still, but it is his only one all day long, promise!). I’ve written about the miracle of routines, but this one is particularly miraculous.

Nighttime Routine Humming Switches Gears

At least once every two week Lex is over-tired or just plain cranky. I tell myself each time that even though he is jumping out of my arms just as we get his night-clothes on and reach for the bottle, that I should give the rest of the routine a try. As I start to lay him back on his “feeding pillow” and place a simple “burping cloth” over his forehead (other parts of his nighttime routine) I start humming “Auld Lang Syne”. Then, by the time I bring the bottle to his mouth, nine nights out of these ten cranky nights Lex switches gear completely and calmly drinks down the bottle. When done he immediately goes willingly to his crib and we don’t hear from him for the rest of the night.

Step Up as a Responsible Father

If your child has a nighttime routine that you don’t know 100% then step up as a responsible father. Learn it and reinforce it. If you feel the routine could be enhanced I recommend adding a hummed tune, possibly always the same one. We’ve had wonderful results. Lex was a terrible nighttime sleeper once, but now I barely even remember those nights and I partially credit the routine and “Auld Lang Syne”.


Third Time Is the Charm at the Wading Pool

Yesterday Lex (20 months old) and I took an afternoon trip to the local kiddie wading pool / fountain. We hadn’t been there in about 1.5 months and before that only twice before. During previous trips Lex barely wanted to enter the water at any depth beyond his ankles. Of course, this was fine with me, but I was a bit concerned that he was missing out on all the fun that the other 50 kids were having. Perhaps the number of kids and attentive responsible fathers and mothers made him nervous before.

I also worry that Lex will fear bodies of water and never want to learn to swim. I enjoyed water and swimming so much as a kid I cannot imagine any childhood without it. I thought Lex was going to love the water, because during our outings in the winter and early spring he always seemed to want to climb into ever body of water he could find.

This elaborate wading pool fountain fills up at its deepest point to about 18 inches and then seemingly magically the water recedes and a couple minutes later the water returns through a gentle waterfall coming through a wall of large stone blocks. The kids love it, but for some reason Lex was not really that interested during previous visits. When I carried him out in to the water and attempted to lower him into it he expressed fear and pulled his little feet up.

However, yesterday things were different. Immediately he ran to the water. Within 10 minutes he was wading knee deep in the advancing and receding tides of the fountain. He even fell down in the water and was submersed to half of his torso, and yet he didn’t cry or panic. I was quite proud of his new courage and confidence and happy for him as well. Earlier this week he had waded into the near by river at about a depth of six inches, but there was no one around and this is a spot we had frequented quite a bit this summer.

It was great spending time with him exploring something new. It also made me feel good when he would wander off and then later seek me out after not seeing me for a while. I felt as though I had good day in my pursuit of responsible fatherhood.

Lex did protest and complain a lot as we left the pool / fountain, but it was his dinner time (4:00 PM) and I knew from experience that his energy would not last past 5:00. I know this is an earlier than usual bedtime, but it seems to be what he most prefers and it works very well with our schedules.


Should I Floss my Toddler? Sure, why not!

My wife started this many months ago when Lex showed serious interest in her flossing activities. She took standard mint-flavored waxed Johnson & Johnson floss and gently threaded it between some of his front teeth. Lex really enjoyed it. I think it was a combination of putting something new inside his mouth, having someone other than him putting it there, and the minty-fresh taste.

Establishing a Flossing Habit = Priceless

Now months later, if Lex sees one of us flossing he asks to be included through his usually extended hands, grunts, and tip-toe stance. It is too cute to resist and honestly why should I resist it. If I am gentle with the floss I am doing the the same great thing I do when I brush his teeth. I am helping create a positive habit. It may not actually clean his teeth much, but the lifelong benefit of establishing the habit is invaluable and she might enjoy it any way. And honestly, my wife has pulled out some scary chunks of meet a few times, so there is an immediate benefit.

Responsible Fatherhood Initiative

As a father trying to become just a little more responsible I recommend that you introduce this either as a discussion topic or as part of your child’s teeth cleaning routine. If it sticks you’ll have taken some great steps toward responsible fatherhood and if it doesn’t then at least you tried. I don’t recommend letting him play with the loose floss or the floss container (choking hazard and massive wasted floss warning).


The Mother of all Diaper Changing Secrets

OK, I was really getting tired of the out-loud cracks and definite unheard secret remarks regarding the number of wipes that I needed to change a poopy diaper. I couldn’t defend or explain why I seemed to always need at least one additional wet wipe and often more than my wife, mother-in-law, and pretty much any mother. I felt that maybe somehow I was always getting the worst and messiest offenders and they were getting all of the little tiny nuggets. However, the truth was that I missed their biggest secret.

Tip for Dad: Wipe first with the diaper itself!

Yes, that is right, those in the know of changing poopy diapers always use the diaper itself, regardless of how full it is to take the first and messiest swipe at junior’s little stinky present. Try it. At first it seems strange, but then you realize that your knuckles have never been better protected from this the messiest of swipes.


Motivating my daughter to eat healthy

With all of the sugar coated food the supermarket has to offer, will my two year old daughter ever eat brocholli? I’ve found that involving her in the process of buying and making the food makes all the difference. When she helps pick out the carrots at the grocery store, she is excited to eat them when dinner time rolls around. Also, we grow a small garden, and when she can watch the fruits and vegetables grow, and has to wait for them to mature, she is excited to pick and eat them. She was so excited about peas that she eats them shell and all.