21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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Smoking and Parenting Don’t Mix

May 22nd, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

“Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” – Brooke Shields (1982)

My Own Battle With Smoking

smoking a cigarette

Photo: Porcelaingirl

A few bloggers I read regularly have talked about their struggle with smoking. It’s a habit I’ve struggled with for most of my life, but I think this time, I’ve quit for good. I knew that when my daughter was born, I had to quit smoking.

When I was single and perusing the dating sites, it really limited my choices. Very few non-smokers would tolerate a smoker. It is often a deal-breaker. The limited pool from which I could choose from also translated into limited success. My self-esteem took a double hit. This nasty habit left me dateless on many nights. When I quit (for whatever length of time it was), I had more dates.

Renee has been wonderful to me since day one. I was on the slippery slope of smoking relapse when I met her, and was back on the puff-wagon within a couple months after we started dating. I refrained from smoking when we were together, but there were times when I indulged. Then we started spending even more time together. It wasn’t actively discouraged, so I continued to smoke.

The Effects of Smoking

Other media channels have done a better job of describing the basics. Here are some of my observations:

  • You’re lighting something on fire and breathing in the fumes
  • One guy told me that he smoked 3 packs a day for over 40 years. That’s almost 1 million cigarettes!
  • A pack-a-day habit is a $150 hole in your budget. A fellow dad blogger tells me that he and his wife both smoke a pack a day. That’s a car payment.

“Please Don’t Smoke, Daddy.”

Please Don\'t Smoke, Daddy.I always knew I had to quit. Then Twilli was born. I REALLY had to quit. She won’t have conscious memories from this time, but neural pathways are being forged. I didn’t want to imprint the cigarette smell along with things like warm, safe, daddy, love, hugs, and snuggle time.

I grew increasingly self-conscious of my habit. I washed a lot of dishes by hand to further scrub the smell from my hands. After a cigarette, I would wash some dishes, brush my teeth, and sometimes change my shirt. A crying baby with a dirty diaper isn’t going to wait for daddy to go through that whole routine.

Slaying the Smoke Monster

A few months ago, I was taken down with a nasty flu. I could barely breathe. How could I smoke through that? I spent 4 days in bed. I didn’t want to smoke. After the 3 day hump, I didn’t want another cigarette. I also lost 10 pounds, which I’m happy to report remain lost. I’ve lost another 10 pounds since. Maybe it’s all that bike riding I’ve been doing lately.

I quit smoking, but I wasn’t ready to quit nicotine. I tried a product called Ariva. It’s a pressed tablet of tobacco that dissolves in your mouth. It’s actual tobacco rather than pharmaceutical nicotine. That’s what was missing from the gum, the lozenges, the patch, and other nicotine replacement therapies. Ariva is also the same price as a pack of cigarettes while the replacement therapies cost more. I used joesgoals.com to track my progress of weaning myself off the tablets.

The Effects of Smoking on Babies and Children

“Crack babies” and “heroin babies” get all the coverage in the media. What about the Marlboro Baby?

One of the select bits of conventional wisdom I subscribe to is for pregnant women to abstain from smoking. It really does have the deleterious effects claimed by the most fervent doomsayers.

Our friend Steve is a smoker who is trying to quit. His wife said that it was going to be even more difficult for him than most. Steve’s mother smoked during pregnancy, so Steve has been addicted to nicotine since before birth! I had not considered that as one of the negative effects of smoking during pregnancy.

“Crack babies” and “heroin babies” get all the coverage in the media. What about the Marlboro Baby?

Before this revelation, I thought that children of smokers became smokers simply due to modeling of behaviors. Smoking during pregnancy imprints this nicotine dependency upon a malleable brain. I know my mother had smoked during at least one pregnancy. Both of my sisters smoke. The last time I visited my mother, I was standing out on the porch with my mother and my sisters. We all had cigarettes in one hand and beers in the other. My sister quipped, “This is an activity the whole family can enjoy!”

Kicking the Habit

If you’re a smoker, you can quit. I will be your cheerleader, not a self-righteous finger pointer. I support you in your decision. It won’t be easy, but you can do it. I’ve tried several methods including cold turkey, weaning, smokeless tobacco, Zyban™, the gum, the patch, and the lozenges. The key for me is persistence. If I fall off the horse, I’m getting back on right away.

The one thing that helps me the most is a focus on all the positives. I think about the money I save, the health benefits, the self-esteem boost, the sense of accomplishment, and a host of other things. My focus is on what I achieved or gained rather than what I’m avoiding, running away from, or lost. BTW, this works on other areas of your life too.

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Taking a Quality Time Time-Out With The Baby

May 2nd, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Twilli and Mommy model the new podaegiWhile I have some time between daytime contract jobs, I decided to spend most of the day yesterday with Twilli. We had a blast hanging out together all day long. I even helped out Renee by taking pictures of her new podegi baby carrier (pictured here). Yes, that can be considered working on the blog, but it was still time I spent with the baby. Today, it’s back to work full force!

Twilli is incredibly fun to be around right now. As she approaches the 9 month mark, her awakening to the world around her continues at an alarming rate. She is recognizing more within her surroundings. She is using her newfound, albeit limited, mobility at every chance she gets.

I learned a lot just by indulging a little in her. It felt great to spend an extended period of time with my daughter. I have to work a little harder today, but it was worth it.

Regardless of your schedule, make the time to be with your baby. I tell people all the time, “she’ll only be a baby once.”

The quality time I spend with Twilli is a spiritual and emotional boost. How many of you remember the old computer game F15 Strike Eagle? There was a glitch in the game that allowed you to continue flying even though you’ve run out of fuel. Pressing any of the number keys 1-9 and the “A” key (for afterburner) made the engines fire a short puff of propulsion. The smile, a moment of discovery, a squeal of delight as I make a goofy face, or a funny moment is like those little puffs of propulsion that I need just when I think I’m totally out of gas.

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Storing the Mylicon Dropper – a 21st Century Dad Hack

February 8th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Infant’s Mylicon Gas Relief

Sometimes you baby really is smiling. Sometimes she just has gas. For that,we have Mylicon drops.After using the last of the Mylicon, I realized that the empty bottle would be a great way to store the dropper and keep it clean.If you found this tip helpful, please consider making a donation.

Some Parenting Blogs Totally Worth Looking At

February 3rd, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Since the beginning, I was focused on writing content and everything else related to getting this blog started. I know there has been a recent flurry of pimpin’ the ‘zon, but that’s not the main reason I’m here. It’s about time I started sharing some of the great parenting blogs I’ve found since I started this adventure. I found all of these without the StumbleUpon toolbar. The darn thing doesn’t work!

I highlighted a few of our favorite bloggers over at ReneeAndElliott.com. Some of our friends are a little slow getting on board with Web 2.0. This list here is parent-centric. Long-time readers may recognize that some of these are recent additions to the Blogroll.

Parent Hacks – Asha Dornfest

Parent Hacks

Parent Hacks. I hack my kids. Do you? You should too. Asha has really built a sense of community on her site. She’s got plenty of great hacks of her own to share and readers are encouraged to submit their own hacks. It’s a daily read for me.

Metro Dad – Poppycock from a Cocky Pop

MetroDad is brutally honest and forthright. He doesn’t post daily, but when he does, it’s always entertaining. If you’re offended by the occasional (or frequent) F-bombs, then proceed with caution. I get a little sneak preview of what my little one might be like 3 years from now. I hope he doesn’t mind that I’ve branded him as “The F-Bomb Dad.”

Thingamababy

Thingamababy makes me feel good when I read it. AJ, the writer, takes the high road with product reviews. He doesn’t take kickbacks from affiliate programs and writes extensively on products that he really uses. Occasionally, he’ll highlight cool things he’s seen online, but the true value comes from the real-life use perspective. Hooray for investing in some graphic design for the blog header.

Shooting The Kids

Amy and Chris Frazier bring us Shooting The Kids. They have great tips and tricks for everyone, regardless of what camera you own. This is a topic I just started covering myself. There’s room for both of us in the blogosphere but my kid is cuter. Amy is a fellow Nikon DSLR shooter. Yay!

Rice Daddies and Kimchi Mamas

The Rice Daddies (and the Kimchi Mamas) are helping me reconnect with my Asian heritage. When the Korean population in my house increased by 0.5 people, I took notice. The Little One will want to know about where she came from. The whitewash is starting to wear off a little.

Baby Cheapskate

Being a parent means you’re watching your finances more closely. Baby Cheapskate is a one-stop shop for finding amazing bargains, coupons and deals.

Daddy Types

Can’t mention the Yin of Baby Cheapskate without the Yang of DaddyTypes. DT is like the Gizmodo of parenting. I had no idea you could spend $6000 on a crib.

Cleaning Your Baby’s Bottom

November 16th, 2007 . by admin

Crapital One: What’s in Your Diaper?

We all want to be the best parents we can be. We’re also human and thus imperfect. Sometimes the dirty diaper is allowed to stay on your baby a little longer than desired. The moisture in the poop gets absorbed by the diaper, leaving a crusty mess. Unfortunately, that crust sticks to your baby’s butt.

That crust is stubborn stuff. You start using as many wipes as you did when you first started changing diapers. You don’t want to rub that delicate skin too vigorously.

Put a little baby oil on the baby wipe. The most stubborn and undesirable crustiness wipes right off!

Remember, that a diaper is designed to wick moisture away. This is especially true for disposable diapers engineered with ultra-absorbent substrate. It can also absorb some moisture from your baby’s skin. It’s important to treat your baby to some lotion or baby oil regularly.