Monday, March 29, 2010

Bonding As They're Growing Up Too

There's a gorgeous article that appeared in last week's Fashion & Style section of the New York Times about a dad who read to his daughter every night, night after night, without fail, from the time she was in fourth grade until the day she left for college.

Here's an excerpt:
When The Streak reached 100, they celebrated with a pancake breakfast, and Kristen whispered, “I think we should try for 1,000 nights.”

Mr. Brozina was delighted, but what he was thinking was, a thousand nights?! “I thought, we’ll never do it,” he recalled. “And then we got to 1,000, and we said, ‘How can we stop?’ ”

For 3,218 nights (and some mornings, if Mr. Brozina was coming home too late to read), The Streak went on. It progressed from James Marshall’s picture books about George and Martha (two close friends who happen to be hippos) to middle-school classics like “When Zachary Beaver Came to Town” to the 14 Oz books (which they read four times each), to Harry Potter, Agatha Christie, Dickens and Shakespeare, continuing on, until Kristen’s first day of college.

In those nine-plus years, they survived many close calls. When Kristen was still in elementary school, her father and older sister went to Washington. “The phone rings at 10:45 at the hotel and it’s Kristen,” Mr. Brozina recalled. “She says, ‘Dad, we forgot The Streak!’ Fortunately, I always travel with several books and we read right then and there.”
Click here to read the full article, which is called "A Father-Daughter Bond, Page by Page."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Love, Sex, and the Male Brain

There's a great opinion piece on about how male brains are wired, how they respond to testosterone, and how women often misinterpret men because their brains work differently.

For our Daddy-Baby bonding purposes, the most important part of the piece is in the middle. The author, Louann Brizendine, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and founder and director of the Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic, writes:

The 'Doting Daddy Brain'
A man in hot pursuit of a mate doesn't even remotely resemble a devoted, doting daddy. But that's what his future holds. When his mate becomes pregnant, she'll emit pheromones that will waft into his nostrils, stimulating his brain to make more of a hormone called prolactin. Her pheromones will also cause his testosterone production to drop by 30 percent.

These hormonal changes make him more likely to help with the baby. They also change his perceptual circuitry, increasing his ability to hear a baby cry, something many men can't do very well before their wives are pregnant.

And a word to the wise for all the young mothers who are reluctant to let your husbands hold and care for your newborn. The more hands-on care a father gives his infant, the more his brain aligns with the role of fatherhood. So, hand over the baby. (Emphasis ours).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dads Can Do EC Too!

EC = Elimination Communication.

The basic idea is this: a human baby is born with the instinct not to soil the nest, just like other primates and almost all mammals.

But in America we've lost the ability to recognize and respond to when a baby needs to pee or poop.

A very small group of moms and dads, however, have gone back to a more natural way of parenting and are responding to their baby's signals and taking them to the potty.

It's truly amazing. Some people call it being "diaper free." But whether your baby is diaper-free or not isn't the point. The point is to communicate with your baby, listen to his or her signals, and also help him or her recognize the need to eliminate.


Here are some places you can read more about the concept of elimination communication:

An Interview With Infant Pottying Expert Christine Gross-Loh

Misses and Catches

The Incredible Pooping Baby