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The Father Factor

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The PURPLE Crying Game [Infographic]

Now that I am going to become a new dad for the second time, I have been reflecting a little bit more on what it means to be a good dad. I have this feeling that when you have more than one child, then you are really a dad… As if just having one doesn't count yet.  

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So, I have been readin’ up on some new dad skills that I will have to re-employ come April (it’s been 3 years since my first son was an infant!), and I found some very helpful guidelines about crying. No, not my crying, the baby’s crying. Hey, that gives me an idea – I should write a guide about how to stop parents from crying during the toddler years.  

Anyway, have you ever heard of PURPLE crying? I hadn’t until I cracked open, once again, one of NFI’s Doctor Dad® fathering handbooks. PURPLE is a nice acronym to help you understand the types and times of non-stop crying in infants – the kind that is most frustrating and difficult for parents to deal with.  

P – Peak pattern (crying peaks at around 2 months, then lessens)

U – Unpredictable (crying for long periods can come and go for no reason)

R – Resistant to soothing (the baby may keep crying for long periods)

P – Pain-like look on face

L – Long bouts of crying (crying can go on for hours)

E – Evening crying (baby cries more in the afternoon and evening)*  

Then, of course, there is just routine crying, like when baby is hungry.  

So, how to respond to all these kinds of crying!? First and foremost, babies cry because they need something. Sounds simple, but in the heat of the moment, it is easy to think your baby is crying for no reason, or worse, just to personally annoy you! But once you accept that there is an actual reason for the crying, you can proceed productively.  

Enter the “Crying Baby Flowchart”!

This incredibly helpful diagram takes you through a step-by-step process to determine why your baby is crying and how you can help stop the crying. It comes complete with illustrations and clear instructions to make your new dad life much easier.

Finally, I would be remiss to not mention that you should never shake a baby for any reason. If things are getting way too frustrating, and no one else is around to come in for relief, make sure your baby is safe and then just walk away. Go in the next room. Sit down. Have a cold drink. Your baby is not going anywhere. When your blood pressure has come down a bit, head back in and give things another shot.  

So, do you have any great ideas on how to stop a baby from crying? What worked best for you?

*Learn more about the PURPLE crying program from the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome

The Single Dad Apartment Scavenger Hunt

The following is a post by Paco Vega. Paco is a single dad who writes about parenting issues and raising a family in the digital world. Interested in blogging for us? Email here.

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Maybe you've just become a single dad, or perhaps you've been going it alone for some time. Either way, if it's time to go apartment hunting, you need to think about some things you'd never consider if you were looking for an apartment for yourself. Here are some tips to get you started:

Establish a Budget

To be affordable, your rent shouldn't eat up more than 30 percent of your monthly income, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Obviously, places in San Francisco or New York City will cost considerably more than apartments for rent in Atlanta, GA, or Billings, MT, and salaries don't always keep up with the increased costs of living. Local rents will also vary depending on the neighborhood.

Contact a local rental property expert to discuss neighborhoods within your budget. Certain factors such as who pays the utilities will cause variation in the rent amount. Find out what utilities you have to pay and how much they typically run.

Check out the Neighborhood

Look for a neighborhood that's accessible to your work place. If you take public transportation, make sure a stop is nearby, and take commute times into consideration and how it will affect your ability to get the kids to school on time.

Does the neighborhood look family-oriented, so your children can make friends with other kids? Are there parks, playgrounds and safe areas for them to play in? Larger apartment complexes may be more likely to have designated play areas, and this will help your child meet other kids right in the apartment community.

Don't forget to call the local police department to find out about the neighborhood crime rate.

Check out Apartment Ratings

Read the reviews on apartment rating websites to learn what past and current tenants think of the complex's management and maintenance department.

What to Ask on the Tour

  • Who pays for utilities, and if tenants pay a portion, how much is that?
  • What type of heating and cooling systems are used?
  • Are pets allowed? Find out if there is a security deposit for a pet, if they charge extra for multiple pets and if you have to pay an extra monthly fee to have pets.
  • How much is the security deposit and what is the refund policy on the deposit?
  • What lease lengths are offered?
  • How far in advance do you have to give notice if you want to move out?
  • Is there on-site maintenance? Is the maintenance team available 24/7 for emergencies?
  • Are there communal laundry facilities, in-unit washers and dryers or hookups? If facilities are shared, find out how much it costs to do laundry and what the laundry center hours are.
  • Can you paint your children's bedrooms? What's the policy regarding painting when you move out?
  • Can you put up shelves to add storage to childrens' bedrooms?


Make a List of Your Must-Have Features

Talk to your kids about what they want in an apartment and the apartment community. If you can financially swing it, make their requests high on the priority list, since those features may ease their transition. 

Consider the features you think are most important. Storage for the kids' toys and such should be high on that priority list.

Finally, don't over-analyze things. It's the love inside the apartment that will make it your home.

What is one thing you consider when searching for a place to raise your child?


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How to Make the Most of Working From Home

The following is a post from Matthew Mancino. Matthew writes about parenting at his blog. Interested in blogging for us? Email here.

I'm a dad, entrepreneur, and marketer. I worked at home for years before I had children. When my first child arrived it rocked my world. I took almost 4 years off of work and coasted until I had a better handle on balancing my career and kids. 

Here's my take on how to balance working from home with a busy family life.    

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Even parents who have 9-to-5 jobs can sometimes find themselves bringing work home. For example, my wife works on a few big projects every year and during those times she brings work home.     

During a normal week, my wife will arrive home at 5:30PM. From the moment she walks in the door to the moment the kids are in bed, it's a tornado of playing, eating dinner, and bathing. After all of that's done, I usually have work to do in the evening since I stay at home with the kids and have a small business.    

Tip 1: Divide and Conquer
One vital part of working at home is that my wife and I have the division of labor clearly defined. Also, we are careful (most times) to discuss changes if we deviate from our normal roles.     

For instance, I typically make dinner. If I have a phone call to make during dinner, we'll discuss it in advance so that we can determine a change in responsibilities. Will she be responsible for dinner tonight? Can I prepare dinner but mentally focus on a conference call at the same time?    

Tip 2: Get Alone Daily
Around 8pm, when the kids are down, I am free to do what I need to do. I'll immediately head to our office for my work time. My wife and I have agreed that my uninterrupted work time is after the kids go to bed.    

Tip 3: "No Tech Tuesday"
We balance my busy work at home schedule with our “No Tech Tuesdays” which we also plan in advance. On a “No Tech Tuesday” we'll plan to turn our phones and computers off and sit on the couch to talk or watch a movie together. We've agreed to use this time to re-connect with each other.  

Tip 4: Weekends Require Work
For us the weekends require a little more flexibility. I'm on a masters swim team and after practice my son takes swim lessons from one of my teammates. My wife usually takes the weekend to work on household chores and spending real quality time with the kids. Scheduling our weekends takes a bit more flexibility because I also try get at least 4 hours of work in each day.   

Tip 5: Talk Through the Schedule
Our kids benefit from hearing me and my wife talk until we agree on a win-win work schedule. They get to hear us problem-solve so that we meet our priorities and commitments.  

I believe that, as parents, we should discuss our work with our children. Tell them what you have to accomplish and how you plan to divide your time to meet everyone's needs. I believe that we should also gain our children's agreement whenever possible. I have found that even my two-year-old daughter appreciates it when she has input. I certainly appreciate it when I have her buy-in to an idea.  

I teach this principle to my kids. If they want to watch a show or take a toy from one another, they must have agreement. They aren't allowed to use force to get what they want.  

I've found that the idea of "gaining agreement" has turned into common vocabulary for us (more on common vocabulary on my blog).

Tip 6: Give a Timeline
One last tip that I think helps is giving a child a timeline. For example, saying, "Daddy is going to Starbucks to work for three hours, when I get home we’ll go to the park to play and have fun!" helps them understand the concepts of time, patience, and the concept of work and reward.

Do you ever have to take work home? If so, what helps you manage spending time with family?


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Phil Mickelson Skips US Open Practice for Daughter's Graduation

If you follow professional golf, you know the U.S. Open Championship is kind of a big deal. ESPN reports that Phil Mickelson skipped US Open practice to attend his daughter's eigth grade graduation.

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ESPN says:
Mickelson was not at Merion Golf Club on Tuesday preparing for the U.S. Open because he headed home to San Diego, where he will attend his daughter's eighth-grade graduation.

Mickelson arrived at Merion on Monday but was unable to get in much practice due to the severe weather conditions that twice caused United States Golf Association officials to close the course.

Mickelson was quoted in a statement released Tuesday he always planned to attend his daughter's graduation ceremony. But with the bad weather at Merion, he left early so he could practice at home.

Mickelson said in a statement:

  • I was scheduled to return to San Diego after my 2:30pm press conference Tuesday. I came back Monday...my daughter Amanda is speaking at her 8th grade graduation ceremony and I always planned on being here for that, but since it was raining so much Monday and we didn't know if we'd even be able to play a sloppy course, I came home last night to practice in great weather on my range and greens. I'll be ready to go Thursday.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place in the late afternoon Wednesday in California, and Mickelson plans to return to Merion (in Pennsylvania) sometime overnight. He has a 7:11 a.m. starting time on Thursday off the 11th tee (4:11 a.m. California time)

As CBSSports makes clear: say the graduation ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday (8 p.m. in Pennsylvania) -- Mickelson will probably eat a cookie and drink some juice at the after-party and be out the door by 6:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. in Pennsylvania). It's a 4 1/2-hour (or so) flight.

Even with a private jet, like I'm sure Mickelson has. He will hit the tee box like any sleepy dad would! To that we say, go Philly Mick, you're doing things #DadsWay!

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photo credit: zzazazz

3 Super Simple Ways to Support Fathers this Father's Day

As you can imagine, June is quite a special month for NFI. As we serve fathers, we thought we should remind you of three ways you can support our aim of creating better dads and give you extraordinary ideas for gifts. Here are three ways you can support fathers this Father's Day: 

1. Join NFI's Dads Club™
DadsClub RotatorWith a one-time $20 membership fee (Now through Father's Day—regularly $35), you get:

  • awesome set of Dads Club™ swag - including a set of men's grooming products from Dove® Men+Care™ 
  • connect with other Dads Club™ members who care about fatherhood.

Plus, your membership fee supports National Fatherhood Initiative's mission to create a world in which every child has a 24/7 Dad℠! Join now!

2. Donate in Honor of Dad for Father's Day
Give $25 or more between now and Father's Day and we will send you a customizable, framable certificate you can present to your dad! Donate now!

Fathers Day LDD Rotator

3. Tweet Using #DadsWay Hashtag
Here is the easiest $1 you will ever donate to National Fatherhood Initiative. If you are on Twitter, every time you use the hashtag #dadsway, Tide/Downy will donate $1 to NFI. Talk about the dad in your life or share something unique about your dad. Dads, you can tweet about being a dad. We will make it even easier for you. Here is an example tweet:

  • For every tweet using #DadsWay @Tide & @Downy will donate $1 to National Fatherhood Initiative @thefatherfactor. Have at it!

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Special Rate for Dads Club™ Now Through Father's Day: $20!

 MADE POSSIBLE BY DOVE® MEN+CARE™" target="_blank">Join or Give the Gift of the Dads Club™ > MADE POSSIBLE BY DOVE® MEN+CARE

Are you proud to be a dad? Do you want to promote responsible fatherhood in society? Are you looking for a community of other committed dads? Then the Dads Club™ is the place for you!  

dads club national fatherhood initiative

With a one-time $20 (regular price is $35) membership fee, you get an awesome set of Dads Club™ "swag" - including a set of men's grooming products from Dove® Men+Care™ - and can connect with other Dads Club™ members who care about fatherhood. 

Plus, your membership fee supports National Fatherhood Initiative's mission to create a world in which every child has a 24/7 Dad℠!

Exclusive Dads Club Member Benefitsdescribe the image

  • Gift from Dove® Men+Care™ - the latest products from Dove® Men+Care™ provide superior grooming maintenance for men by caring for their skin, face and hair
  • Dads Club™ t-shirt - to proudly sport your commitment to fatherhood
  • Dads Club™ photo magnet - to hold a picture of your kids
  • A 5-pack set of NFI's Dad's Pocket Guide™ - pocket-sized advice for dads - share some with other dads you know!
  • "No Ifs" commitment band - to remind yourself that being there for your kids is an unconditional decision
  • Exclusive monthly e-newsletter for Dads Club™ members - featuring tips for dads, member spotlights, and special messages from Dove® Men+Care™!
  • NFI's twice-weekly Dad Email™ - practical tips, resources, and ideas for dads
Moms: Get the dad in your life the perfect Father's Day gift—you know he needs a new shirt and products to make him smell fresh!
 
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Treat Dad Like a Gentleman on Father's Day—Gifts from $19 to $500

“Being a man is a matter of age. Being a gentleman is a matter of choice.” —Edwin Louis Cole

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Don't know what to get dad this year?

Writing as a father myself, my family doesn't usually know what to get me either. But it's my fault, because I don't typically have anything I want—until now!

Dads, you can review this list and actually have something you want. Heck, after seeing these ideas, you may have several ideas to hint about for the next few holidays!

Moms and families wanting something special for dad? Check out our list for ideas to make this Father's Day special. But most importanly, treat the dad in your life like the gentleman he is.

We have your go-to list of great gift ideas. How do we know? Well, we're pretty much dad experts—at least as it involves to gifts we would like to receive!

Here are a few ideas to get you started making this Father's Day special. Most of the gifts mentioned below can be engraved and/or personalized and can be found at Red Envelope Gifts for Dads

I was sent the Leather Excursion Messenger Bag. I'll give you a review later—keep reading...

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First, know that Red Envelope has every dad-gentleman in your life covered—whether he's:

As I mentioned above, I recieved the Leather Excursion Bag a couple of weeks ago. I'm finding it to be a great bag for daily use. 

Excerpt from Red Envelope will make you want the bag: Inspired by wartime cavalry bags and map satchels, this everyday workhorse is crafted from the finest quality top-grain leather and develops a luxurious softness and patina over time. Pen, cell phone and wallet compartments keep the necessities in reach.

Allow me to share a few things that stood out about my experience with Red Envelope:

1. My gift was shipped very carefully and with a special, personalized letter.

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2. The smell of leather! When I opend the box to my new bag, the lovely smell of leather filled my office. I still smell manly after walking around with my bag for the last couple of weeks.

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3. The details and stitching are eye-catching.

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4. The bag has plenty of storage for everyday use.

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Some details on the bag:

  • crafted from soft, full-grain leather
  • antiqued bronze hardware
  • interior includes pen holders, 2 pockets large enough for a cell phone and a wallet
  • dust cover included
  • may be personalized with up to three characters
  • 50"L shoulder strap
  • 16 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 12"H
Whether a bag is on your list or not—be sure you treat the dad in your life like the gentleman he is—for these special and personalized gift ideas and many more—find Red Envelope on Twitter and Facebook.
 
 

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Disclosure: Red Envelope provided NFI with the bag and sponsored this post.

One Dad's Favorites from The Washington Auto Show

My wife recently surprised me with tickets to the Washington Auto Show in DC. Car shows have been a part of my life for many years. My dad has taken me to several classic car shows and I've watched him operate in the garage to restore several cars through the years. My dad will tell you he and I "worked together" to restore a 1970 Chevelle. Truth be told—he restored a Chevelle—I watched a Chevelle get restored! Nevertheless, I've always connected with my dad over cars; and my connection with cars is through my dad. If my dad didn't love cars—neither would I. 

Given my appreciation of cars, below are a few of my favorites from the Washington Auto Show. Scroll through the pictures and tell us in the comments: what was the first car you ever owned?

Toyota Sequoia
The Toyota Sequoia, which offers seating for up to eight in a full-size, full-capability sport-utility vehicle (SUV), adds new family-friendly entertainment features for 2013. The Sequoia debuts a Toyota-first Blu-Ray rear seat entertainment system, and 2013 also marks the first full year of Toyota Entune™ availability.

sequoia, cars, trucks, interior

Built on an exclusive platform that uses body-on-frame construction, the Toyota Sequoia features four-wheel independent suspension to help provide great ride quality, handling and straight-line control. The 2013 Sequoia is available in SR5, Limited and Platinum grades (shown in images), and all models for 2013 make the 381-hp 5.7-liter V8 standard. The Sequoia model line offers the choice of 2WD and 4WD. In select areas, Sequoia 4x4 models feature E85 Flex Fuel capability.

sequoia, suv, car, truck

Premium HDD Navigation with Entune® and JBL— includes 7-in. high-resolution touch-screen with split-screen capability and integrated backup camera display, AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, 14JBL® GreenEdgespeakers including subwoofer, SiriusXM Radio, HD Radio with iTunes® Tagging, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod® connectivity and control, hands-free phone capability, phone book access, advanced voice recognition, and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology. Aslo, there's two cup-holders in each of the back doors!

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Ford Explorer
The 2013 Ford Explorer is nice. To help you handle every road condition, there’s the available Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System.™ For your peace of mind, Curve Control, an enhancement to AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control,™ delivers enhanced control in turns. The Explorer offers up to seven-passenger seating capacity and seats that fold down for cargo space on demand – up to 80.7 cubic feet of space. While some manufactors are difficult to fold the seats for storage, the Explorer was simple and easy.

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The 2013 Explorer features some new and innovative features. For example, there are lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist to help keep you in control. Explorer features the world’s first automotive production inflatable rear safety belts that spread crash forces over more areas of the body compared the safety belts you have in your car!

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Okay, let's talk technology. Take, for example, available SYNC® with MyFord Touch® – the easy-to-use in-car connectivity system. With simple voice commands, you can make phone calls, choose music, control your climate and more without taking your eyes off the road. Another feature, the available voice-activated Navigation System with integrated SiriusXM Traffic and SiriusXM Travel Link, provides weather forecasts, traffic updates, fuel prices – even movie times.

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Chevy Tahoe
Chevrolet Tahoe
is a full-size SUV that offers plenty of space and an estimated at 21 mpg on the highway. Three rows of seating are standard on all models. The second row is available as a three-passenger bench with a 60/40 split or two bucket seats. A good option to have for families. Another nice option, the third row features a 50/50-split design and is removable. A power-assisted second row seat release feature is available on LT.

Technology? How about USB ports, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, OnStar® Directions & Connections®, Rear Vision Camera and Bluetooth® wireless technology for select phones.

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GMC Acadia Denali
The 2013 Acadia Denali comes complete with the latest technology. Innovations like the standard Color Touch radio with IntelliLink, and touch controls make your drive easy.

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There's interior space for 7 or 8 passengers to truly ride in comfort, Acadia Denali is ready to fit you and your family. Standard Denali features include: 

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with mahogany wood grain trim
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Power, heated and cooled front driver and passenger seats
  • Premium Bose® Audio System
  • 8-way power driver and front passenger seat
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Chevy Camaro
So, you can't fit your family in it, but what would a car show be (or a review) without a muscle car?! The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is an "everyday supercar." Motivated by the supercharged LSA small-block V-8 producing 580 horsepower, it is the "fastest, most capable Camaro ever," with performance that includes:

  • 0-60 mph in four seconds
  • Top speed of 184 mph
  • 11-second quarter-mile ETs (11.93 with the automatic / 11.96 with the manual transmission)

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What was the first car you ever owned?

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