Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Science Roundup

It's been a busy week, and posting has suffered some.

Family Members Most Often Source Of Whooping Cough In Young Infants

When the Curious Boy was born, right at the onset of winter and the flu season, we got a lot of flack for staying away from big groups and being really strict about who we saw and how well they washed their hands. We all managed to stay healthy, and frankly, when the next one comes I'll be the same.

A High Beef Diet During Pregnancy Linked To Lower Sperm Counts In Sons

Women Of All Sizes Feel Badly About Their Bodies After Seeing Models

Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder At Risk For Alcohol Problems

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35 Years of Birth Control

Most of you reading this have kids, or are thinking about having them. The important thing in this (for most of you) was the deciding part. You may be married, or not. The right to birth control to married and non-married people is barely 40 years old. One of the most important cases in the struggle for reproductive rights was decided by the US supreme court this week in 1972.
The case began when Baird responded to a petition
signed by nearly 700 Boston University students asking
him to challenge the 1879 Massachusetts law that denied
unmarried individuals access to birth control. On April 6,
1967, he lectured at Boston University to more than 2,500
people and, in a prearranged move, handed a nineteenyear-
old unmarried woman a free condom and a package of
contraceptive foam. The police thereupon made the necessary
arrest and his case was launched.
From The Humanist (via NewsTrust)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Safety 1st? That depends on how strong your kid is.

A 15 month-old means that childproofing is a must. Safety 1st is pretty much the go-to brand for outlet covers and cabinet and drawer latches. Our family PC is in the living room in a cabinet, and we bought a cabinet lock to keep the Curious Boy out of it.

Well. The kid wanted to get in so badly that he busted the damn thing.

At 15-freakin'-months.


Attachment Parenting - Part I

A lot of people talk about attachment parenting and attachment theory without really knowing what it is. Most folks seem to think it is some sort of hippy-dippy stay glued to your kid 24/7/365 and do everything for and with them.

Attachment theory is anything but that. In attachment theory, the role of the parent is something akin to the coach of a sports team. A coach prepares and motivates a team before a game, cheers and supports during a game, and celebrates, consoles and offers constructive criticism after a game. The coach however, cannot play the game for the team.

A parent's role is exactly the same.

A central feature of my concept of parenting [is] the provision by both parents of a secure base from which a child or an adolescent can make sorties into the outside world and to which he can return knowing for sure that he will be welcomed when he gets there, nourished physically and emotionally, comforted if distressed, reassured if frightened. In essence this role is one of being available, ready to respond when called upon to encourage and perhaps assist, but to intervene only when clearly necessary. (Bowlby, 1988, p. 11)

Below is an image that describes the basics of attachment theory very well. - Click for here enlargment (PDF).

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Downloadable furniture from Foldschool

This looks pretty cool. You download a PDF with instructions and layouts. You supply the parts and labour. The result: sweet sweet low impact furniture.

Architect Nicola Enrico Staubli designed this as a sort of flatpack design, in the sense that the sheets of cardboard can be shipped flat, thereby reducing the waste associated with their transport.

(via TreeHugger)

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

And the winner is...

DADVENTURE!!!!!! Hurray for you.

Drop me a line at michael[dot]lautman[at]gmail[dot]com with your address etc.

Thanks to everyone KC for entering, and stay tuned for more contests in the very near future.

Contest results....

After some gentle prodding (thanks KC) - I am ready to announce the winner of the first contest here at PhilosopherDad. Your overunderwhelming response means that the contest has come down to two people KC and Dadventure..... In order to ensure total fairness, the winner will be decided by cointoss. KC, you get to be heads, Dadventure, you are tails.

Here we go.....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

PhilosopherDad on The Radio (suite)

So there we go. My moment of glory. Yesterday, I was featured alongside two moms (one of whom turns out to be CrunchyCarpets) on CBC Radio 1's morning show, Sounds Like Canada.

If you missed the broadcast, you can find the audio file here.

Let me know what you think.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Philosopher Dad on CBC Radio 1

A week or so ago I was part of a panel discussion about parenting for CBC Radio 1's "Sounds Like Canada". The segment will be aired tomorrow at 11AM Eastern. If you are listening in another timezone, this is at the start of the 2nd hour of the show.

In Montreal CBC Radio is found at 88.5 FM.
If you are a Sirius Satellite Radio subscriber CBC is at 137.

For most of you though, the best thing to do is listen online here:

Pick Montreal from the list.

Hope that you get a chance to tune in.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Did you forget? I said CONTEST people!

So far there has been little (no) response to my offer of a free copy of Elijah Cooper's book Crawling. Either non of you know how to read, or I'm asking too much. So we'll try again.

Post a comment anywhere on this blog about hipster parent things you do or do not do (some examples: my kid has a playlist on my iPod/YouTube, I read/write parent blogs and so on).

Do this by noon (EST) Monday March 19th. A winner will be chosen at random from the entrants.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What if the kid just refuses? Pacifiers and SIDS

Mounting evidence indicates that infants that take pacifiers are less likely to die from SIDS. No one really knows why. My hunch is that there may be some way in which the pacifier prevents suffocation (the major cause of non-genetic SIDS).

We tried and tried and tried and tried to get the kid to take one but he consistently and vehemently refused.

hope #2 takes one.

Science Daily:Pacifier Use May Lower Risk Of SIDS

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Philosopher Dad on the radio!

Wow. This is huge. For me anyway. Last week I was contacted by a producer from Sounds Like Canada,the national mid-morning show on CBC radio, to talk about modern parenting trends, etc. Today I am going into the studio to tape a panel discussion with two moms. I am so stoked!

Watch this space for details about when the segment will air.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Population - Birthrates - The Motherhood Experiment - Idea Lab - Sharon Lerner - New York Times

Many developed nations are looking for ways to encourage families to have more kids, even as their fertility rates plunge.

Here in Canada (like in Scandinavia) we have extensive social support for families and new parents. In the ROC (rest of Canada) the plan is administered by the federal government, and is pretty generous. 1 year of leave on 55% salary (some of this time can be shared by dads). Recently, the feds have been sending families with kids under 6 $100 a month per kid to help with childcare. Here in Quebec, we have it extra nice. 1 year leave on 65% salary (some can be shared as well), up to 5 weeks paid PATERNITY leave and $7/day daycare (if you can get a spot). We get the money from the feds as well.

Now, we continue to be taxed up the wazoo, but most Canadians don't mind, as long as they feel that they are getting their money's worth.

Statistics indicate that countries that support working families do indeed have higher birthrates. In fact, here in Quebec, we do seem to be in the midst of a minor baby boom.

Population - Birthrates - The Motherhood Experiment - Idea Lab - Sharon Lerner - New York Times

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Monday, March 05, 2007

To freeze or not to freeze....

Freezing stuff and kids seem to go hand in hand. Left-overs, home made baby food, breast milk, teething toys, infants. Whatever. But not really. Some stuff (like infants) should never be frozen. The good people at the National Center for Home Food Preservation have come to our aid with a great list of what (not) to freeze.


How do I freeze? National Center for Food Preservation via Lifehacker

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Yup, we (me) here at Philosopher Dad are very pleased to announce our (my) very first contest!

Last summer the great people over at Pantheon Books sent me an galley copy of Elisha Cooper's Crawling: A Father's First Year. I was stunned. At the time, I was getting like 20 hits a week here, and somebody sent me a book. For free. Well, life is busy and it took me forever and a month to read the book, which is now available in stores/online.

Crawling is a mostly light, sometimes serious look at the ups and downs of a new dad's first year. Cooper has been lumped into the whole hipster parenting thing, probably because he comitted the cardinal sins of taking his daughter to nice coffee shops in San Fran. I think a lot of people commenting on this (non)phenomenon miss one of the most wonderful things about modern parents... Dads taking an active and intersted role in their children's lives and taking the time to share their experiences.

Crawling: a Father's First Year

Crawling is a great read. Go buy it. Even better, post your best hipster parent story as a comment and a winner will be chosen at random.
UPDATE (03.05.07) I realize that this is asking a lot. Rather than a story, tell us why you are/are not a hipster parent. A winner will be chosen at random.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

No Child Left Inside

As a kid, I vividly remember riding my BMX through parts of my suburb that were in the process of being developed. I had the good fortune of living near a large green space with woods, water and trials so that when the new houses came, we still had somewhere to play. I love being outside, and as spring (slowly) approaches I can't wait to get outside with the kid.

Richard Louv has a powerful essay on the importance of playing outside, and how a lot of modern suburban development has made that harder and harder. Couple that with parental anxiety and you can start to imagine legions of pasty-faced kids staring longingly out a window.....

I love being outside. Walking, biking, camping. I think that the amount of time I spent outdoors as a child has directly contributed to this and to my strong sense of environmental responsibility.

Leave No Child Inside
(via Treehugger)