Solids! (at least in practice)

What do I do with this?

What do I do with this?

The Cricket has her 6 month well check in two weeks and we are fully anticipating the doctor to give us the okay to start solids. So we figured she should be ready and start practicing now. Nothing really exciting or dramatic, just some runny rice cereal.

Huh...not bad

Huh…not bad

Once we get the okay from her doc we’ll start with the interesting stuff. Wife and I cooked up and blended the majority of Sweetie’s “baby food”, and the plan is to do the same with Cricket. That’s when it will get fun, so expect some future posts, especially because I didn’t write about it with Sweetie. This post is mainly for the cuteness factor.

I got you now cereal!

I got you now cereal!

Creating a genius-Fathers’ Reading Matters!

Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit in the title here, but I’m pretty stoked out on an article that I recently read. Steve Kilpatrick, a National Representative for the National Children’s Study, wrote about research studies that highlight the importance of fathers reading to their children. He points out that the studies find “Fathers’ reading matters for children-A LOT!” And how much reading are we talking about? Just 20 minutes a day. As a quick aside, I am sure that when mothers read to their children it is also important. But I’m pattin’ my Dads on the back tonight.

Kilpatrick cites three specific studies. The first, from America, found that fathers boost their child’s expressiveness and language development when they read to them regularly. Again, just 20 minutes a day. A Swedish study found that when fathers read regularly to their elementary-aged girls, it helped to prevent depression and improve their mental health later in their lives. In Britain they found that when fathers read regularly to their school-age children the child’s reading level advanced faster than children whose fathers only read them once a week. So this is all a bit heady…what’s the point?

The point is that reading with your kids is great for them. It boosts their mental development and improves their mental health. Overall, it sounds like reading to children helps make them into well-adjusted, competent little people. Sweetie and I spend hours reading together. From Highlights to Frog and Toad, Dr. Seuss to Shel Silverstein, she loves sitting together to read a book. And it has been fun to watch people gifting her books that they loved when they were kids (Captain Jack is especially good at that).

Steve Kilpatrick also points out that any Dad who has read with his children knows “how wonderful those moments are!” So that’s good news and a little boost to all the Dads out there, not just the “Stay-at-Home” ones. Know that time spent with your child in a good book counts in so many ways. And just in case you don’t have any good books lying around, let me humbly recommend Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too by Anna Dewdney. Sister Scales-of-Justice gifted this to me for Father’s Day and we have read it no less than 80 trillion times. No llama drama there, just more with the exaggerating.

Take a break from that Project, Dad. Get out from behind this computer, or put down the phone/tablet etc. Go read to your kids knowing that you are doing something that is great for all of us.

A House Favorite

A House Favorite

5 month Update

Once again it is Cricket’s time in the spotlight. I think the 4 month pictures were lost in the holiday shuffle. I have no doubt that you have been hanging on the edge of your seat waiting for the update. Isn’t that what every parent blogger thinks?

Cricket is doing great at 5 months. Still the typical drooling, pooping, squirmy lil’ monster. Cricket is a happy baby, though, smiling most of the time and at most people. Wife and I joke that it will be a sad day when life invades her little happy-bubble world. She has started rolling over which is very exciting for all of us. She also has quiet the grabby-hands. Again, exciting and definitely keeps us on our toes. She is sleeping through the night more often, so we are getting more sleep in recent nights. Big bonus there.

IMG_0070

Next month should be even more exciting. We are looking forward to piercing Cricket’s ears (we also had Sweetie’s done at 6 months), her baptism (humorously on Valentine’s Day) and a well-check that goes smoothly. Hopefully the doc will clear her to start solids, which is always a funny time. So until then (and because we are distracted by Chicago’s bitter cold snap), stay warm out there folks.

Snow…finally!

For anyone stuck inside because of the low temperature and wind chill it is probably a little strange to see us celebrating the snow here on the detour. Yeah, well, in the moment we were excited for it.

Strange weather in Chicago this year. Heck, even California got snow before we did. We have had Sweetie prepared since October with Sorel boots, a winter coat and snow pant outfit, ski-quality mittens (okay, I went overboard at REI with that one). So we’ve been ready and waiting.

Geared up!

Geared up!

And it finally came! Yeah, with all of the associated cold and mess. But it wouldn’t be winter in Chicago without snow. Sweetie plodded around the yard while I cleaned up the sidewalks. Then I rewarded her by dragging her around the block in her sled. Not everyone in the neighborhood is as diligent about their sidewalks as we are, so it was cool runnings.

Good times

Good times

And now we’re trapped inside with 2 degree temperature and a windchill of -20. Sheesh. Thankfully, the snow stayed out of our way for the holidays and all of the shuttling around town. And hopefully it will warm up enough to drop a little bit more. The shoveling exercise does this Dad good. Stay warm out there folks!

So worth it!

So worth it!