Saturday, November 8, 2008

On my birthday - Gabe's #1

The best gift I've ever received and ever will...until the next one!?!
Thanks for my jeans, book and all of the joy you bring into my life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Standards please

The Canadian Standards Association, a client of mine I'm happy to say, does some pretty remarkable work deep in the background of all of our lives. You're probably familiar with the CSA mark that appears on your toaster and means that it meets all of the safety standards required of such small appliances in Canada. That's only the tip of the iceberg - or the crust on the toast if you will - of the work this organization does.

Arising out of the tragedy of the First Great War - a lack of standardization of ammunition among the allies cost many lives - CSA performs a great service in improving the standards of living for all of us here in Canada and in many places around the world. If you're not familiar with its work I recommend you visit to learn more about it and its people.

So why bring this up?

I forgot one thing at least in my Mr. Mom posting and it relates directly to standardization.

Kids clothes come with a variety of closures - zippers (too few); buttons (too many); clasps; clips; velcro; and, pretty much everything else short of duct tape.

On the clothing with clasps, most often sleepers, I'd love for CSA to set a standard for the number and location of the clasps. Some items have eight, some 11, some 12; some are logically placed; others appear to be sewn on by a drunken goat; some are well secured while others will pull from the clothing with little pressure; and all of them appear completely impotent in the face of an onslaught of squirming and fidgeting by a one-year old.

Can't blame it all on China either. Many of these items are made right here in Canadia (as they say on the Colbert Report). Can't blame it on price either. Some of the most expensive items are the worst. While items from the Joe Fresh line at Loblaws are generally among the best.

Anyway, get to work on this CSA. You'll be doing all of us fumble-fingered old farts a real service.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God Bless America

Apart from my dear friend Mr. Ricky Ray Britt of Virginia, I know of few people who more loathed the wreckage wrought by the past eight years of the Bush/Cheney/Rove cabal's administration.

Regardless of what happens in the next few years the American people have given us all hope that there is still decency amongst all people, that we can rise above the partisan and intellectual ignorance and overwhelming greed of those who supported Dubya, and that together we might - just might - see a new, brilliant dawn.

God Bless America.

Upright and mobile

This momentous occassion happened on November 2.

It's taken me 'til today to process what's really happening.

My son is now able to walk.

I'm desperately proud of him.

I'm desperately afraid now.

Granted, he's only about as steady on his feet as his Daddy after a night of Maker's Mark with Uncle Bobby Cook but regardless, he can now motor around pretty well.

Never really appreciated what people meant when they say it all goes by too fast. I kind of do now.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lessons from Mr. Mom

As a stay-at-home Dad I've been learning some important lessons. Some things spiritual. Others practical. Still others that inspire in me a real appreciation for people with little ones. Thought I might just share a few of these with you today.

1. There's no time to keep up your blog. Honest to God I thought that when Gabriel napped or got busy with toys I'd be able to retire to the laptop and craft clever missives. NOT. It takes considerable discipline (never a strong point for this writer) to carve out time.

2. There should be a special place in Hell for children's clothing designers who think plackets (a slit or other opening in an item of clothing, to allow access to pockets or fastenings) are a clever idea. It's hard enough getting a squirmy one-year old dressed never mind trying to insert tab A in slot B.. Please people - BIG buttons and BIGGER holes. Leave your couture to the adult world.

3. Kids love to stick stuff where it wasn't meant to be stuffed. We live in a 158-year old house. It has forced air heating and hence floor ducts. Now these turn out to be a source of great interest for little ones. Not only can you perform spill and fill functions with them you can also send toys skittering down the duct work never to be seen again. (At least Gabriel hasn't tried to stuff the cat down one as happened to my brother in law Andrew). This was a constant irritant to this old man and I couldn't find anything in the copious amounts of kid-proofing information or products that would help secure the duct cover. So, I went to good old Home Depot and got some mirror mounts. Screwed 'em into the floor over the ducts and they work a treat. Gabriel's not remotely interested now but I do think I've managed to perform a humanitarian act for his many little toy friends.

4. The more expensive the item the more attractive to little hands. My father-in-law Roger calls them mussentouchits. My son doesn't care. He loves the remote control devices. He loves my iPhone. He loves the telephone. He loves the digital box. He loves the Bose. He loves the iPod. He thinks my laptop is better than anything Fisher Price can come up with. He thinks my printer is a delightful place to spill and fill. I'm beginning to think that a return to a completely analog world is the right way to go.

5. The less elaborate the better. Seemingly contrary to point four, Gabe's favourite toys are things such as:
an empty cottage cheese tub with an old rice cracker remnant inside;
a plastic funnel;
anything from Tupperware or Rubbermaid;
the cat's tail;
the fireplace grate;
the afore-mentioned floor ducts;
dust motes (not that we ever have those in our house);
magazines - torn up with great skill...but only the articles I'd like to read...never the 'how to keep your silver shiny' pieces;
Cheerios; and,
did I mention the cat's tail?