Tuesday, October 25

If You Don't Like Your Toy, You Have Only Yourself to Blame

by Randall Cleveland

Given a couple of minutes with their own wild imagination, a kid can turn just about anything you hand them into a best buddy: a pillow, a familiar blanket, a plank of wood with a face crudely painted on it, but especially stuffed animals. I don't know what the psychology of it is, but almost everyone at one point in their childhood had that special friend who was completely inanimate and dependent on their every whim, but also knew how to make everything better. And now, a company called Child's Own Studio takes it one step further: they'll make your child a stuffed animal that looks nearly identical to the drawing you submit...

 

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"Your toy came today. Your appointment with the Child Psychologist is at 4.

 

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Thursday, August 04

To Hair, Or Not To Hair?

by Jason Hinklin-Lauderdale

Here is a picture of my son Atticus when he was seven months old. In it, he riding a rocking horse and firing his laser eyes against unknown assailants while waving to his father. But do you notice anything strange about the picture?

 

 

You see it, don't you? The mohawk? I swear to you, the kid grows it naturally. It's not something his mother and I did to make him punk rock or anything. It just showed up in this perfect little stripe on his noggin at about four-months and basically told all the other follicles to take a hike. Even now at ten-moths old, we sort of have to spread the hair around a bit to fill out the rest of his head. Not that it bothers us, of course. Sure, there are some folks at the mall who, after looking at him and then spying the tattoos my wife and I have, like to roll their eyes and huff about "alternative lifestyles" or whatever, but the joy on his little face when Daddy slashes their tires more than makes up for it.

Never once have I thought about trimming his hair or trying to make it look "normal", though. I mean, he's a little kid. Who cares if his hair looks a little funny? He’ll grow out of it and, in twenty years, I'll have all these great photos to embarrass him with. No biggie. Then again, I'm raising a boy, so the bar is set a bit lower on the presentabilty scale. At least, I guess it is, anyway, otherwise there wouldn't be things like wigs for baby girls.

 

 

Baby Bangs makes hairbands for little ladies whose follicles haven't quite sprung into action yet to help "enhance their natural beauty", according to the above video. They definitely seem to be more for family photos, pageants, and fancy-type events, but I can't help but think they're a little over the top. Very cute, certainly, but not something I think I'd want for my daughter, should I ever have one.

And maybe that's the thing. I don't have a daughter, so it's probably more difficult for me to understand why someone might buy these. Perhaps if I had to correct someone over and over again that the baby is a "she" rather than a "he", I might feel differently. Still, if my "she" happened to have a mohawk like my "he" does, I don't think it would matter all that much. It'd be pretty cool, to be honest.

What do you think? How important is your child's hair or lack of it? Does it matter all that much that your little girl gets mistaken for a little boy or vice versa? Do you put a lot of thought and effort into the way your child looks, or do you go by the "if it's clean, it's what they're wearing" rule?

 

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Thursday, May 26

Ponycorns!

by Jason Hinklin-Lauderdale

For the past six years, game makers and designers of all types have gathered in Toronto for the annual Toronto Game Jam with one goal, create a small, solid, and, most of all, fun game in just three days. This year's jam, however, will go down in history as the first one to have a game designed by a five-year old girl.

 

 

A dinosaur, a goat on a pole, and a particularly evil lemon are all part of Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure. You'll point and click your way through this short but very sweet game with only one objective: Find ponycorns! And really, when you think about it, what more is there in life?

 

But the best part about the game is that nearly all of its element were created and designed by Ryan Henson Creighton's daughter Cassie. The characters, the drawings, even some of the puzzles were all her idea. How awesome is that? And what's even more incredible is that it's actually fun to play, which is something you can't say about a lot of game made by grown-ups these day.

Play it with your kids or play it alone for a quick lunch break smile. Just don't forget to read the story of how it all came about on her father's blog. It might not win Game Of The Year, but Mr. Creighton certainly wins for Father Of The Year in my book.

 

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Thursday, April 14

Punk Isn't Dead, It Just Has To Take An Afternoon Nap

by Jason Hinklin-Lauderdale

Who says punk music isn't just a powerful and socially relevant as it used to be? Sounds like something someone too old or too "scene" to be really paying attention would say. I mean, just look at the way this three year-old attacks the issue of having her hair in knots.

 

 

Truly inspiring stuff. If this doesn't get you to pull your kids away from the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games and into a honest-to-goodness music store, I don't know what will.

 

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Tuesday, April 12

 

Tuesday, March 29

It's been HOW long?!

by Randall Cleveland

We were all set to show off this great montage of Pixar films making the rounds this week all over the internet. It's a great glimpse back: a well-done montage of some of the best movies to come out in the last-

Wait? Is that right? IT'S BEEN 25 YEARS??! It can't be! We remember when this stuff was cutting edge technology! 

Enjoy the video. If you need us we'll be in our office, sobbing quietly at how pathetically old we've become.

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Thursday, March 24

Post-It Notes from the Parenting Front Lines

by Jason Hinklin-Lauderdale

I tried being a stay-at-home-but-still-working dad recently. It, uh, did not work out very well. I was frustrated with having to write about toothbrush sanitizers when I wanted to play with my kid, he was frustrated about the way I would stare my laptop instead of admiring how many things he could shove in his mouth at once, the whole thing was a disaster. So after a month of trying to find the right balance and failing, my wife and I made the decision to send him to daycare. Now he gets the attention he craves from total strangers and I get to sit in a tiny gray room and wax poetic on the features of some refurbished HDTV. Sure, it doesn't exactly sound like winning, but it just sort of works.

Freelance writer Chris Illuminati, however, almost makes it look easy. Well, maybe not easy, but it's a heck of a lot funnier when he does it.

 

 

Last year, Chris started Message With A Bottle, a blog detailing his experiences and thoughts as a new father though the Post-It Notes he usually uses to keep his work stuff organized. It's equal parts hilarious and "Oh man, I've totally been there."

 

 

Some of the language is just a wee smidgen NSFB (not safe for babies), but the grownups in the room will probably understand exactly where Chris is coming from. And now that his son has just turned one, I'm guessing there are a lot more notes to come.

 

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Wednesday, January 19

Quick Kid Vids: Born To Rock

by Jason Hinklin-Lauderdale

A lot of important folks with letters after their names will tell you that it's very important for parents to identify and encourage any talents their child may possess. Take Vimeo user Alex, for instance. He found that his tiny seven week old daughter had a certain flair for playing air instruments while asleep. As you can see in the video below, she's very advanced.

 

 

[via The Daily What]

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Thursday, December 16

If This Crib's A-Rockin', Don't Come A-Listenin': The Horror of CribRock

by Matthew Norman

The music I associate with my childhood wasn't the music that was popular when I was a child.

I assume that's true for most people. The music a kid hears first and most often isn't what's charting just then; it's the stuff his parents like. And that makes sense, right? Until a kid can seek out music on his own, it's his parents who stock the household record collection (or mp3 queue). And it takes several years before children reach that stage during which they reject their parents' taste in everything, so they can hardly help but inherit a few favorite tracks in the meanwhile.

Plus, if your kid digs the same recording artists as you, you get a reprieve from the Doodlebops, an act that, let's face it, should stand trial in the Hague.

So wanting to find your kids some child-friendly tunes by grown-up entertainers, that makes sense. I suggest "Rock 'N' Roll with the Modern Lovers." But dude. Dude.

Why in the world would you want the CribRock albums in your house?...

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Wednesday, December 08

Simple Santa Survival

by Jason Hinklin-Lauderdale

When I eventually outgrew the mall Santa, I guess I just sort of blocked out the whole experience. I mean, I know I've sat on St. Nick's lap, there's photographic evidence that proves it, but I only very vaguely remember any of it. It's sort of like college in that way. For years, every time I passed one of those lines during my holiday shopping, I'd see the kids waiting anxiously for their chance to give Santa their list and their exasperated parents and giggle. Silly tradition. Who needs it, am I right?

And then I went and had my own kid. PRO-TIP: Never tell new grandparents you think visiting Santa is a silly tradition.

So last weekend, my wife and I packed up my little one and headed out to face our first of many yearly Christmas visits to the mall. And, to be fair, we had it pretty easy. It was nice, too, because it gave me a chance to look at what some of the other parents in line were doing so that I might prepare for the future.

Just a note: These are just personal observations from someone who hasn't actually been in a line to see Santa since he was nine. Okay, fifteen. OKAY, TWENTY THREE BUT I REALLY WANTED A PLAYSTATION 2. It's probably best to take all this with a grain of salt.

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