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The Dude

4

Guest Post: Parent-Archivist (Thoughts and Tips from a Shutterbug)

Shooting Monkeys

The Dude photographs monkeys of all kinds.

One Sunday morning at the beginning of last year, I read this piece in the New York Times Magazine, which postulates that parenting today is defined by the process of archiving digital media of our children.  More morosely, it explains that

American children in 2010 have a bright, clear reason for being. They exist to furnish subjects for digital photographs that can be corrected, cropped, captioned, organized, categorized, albumized, broadcast, turned into screen savers and brandished on online social networks.

Tongue even more firmly in cheek, the article describes the initiation process into digital parenthood:

The marching orders come immediately, with the newborn photo, which must be e-mailed to friends before a baby has left the maternity ward. A conscientious father . . . must snap dozens of shots of the modestly wrapped newborn. . . . Back at a laptop, he uploads the haul, scrutinizing pixels. . . . He selects a becoming one. The mother signs off, often via e-mail, from her hospital bed. . . . Thus a parent is minted.

Indeed.  And it doesn’t stop at the hospital. We all take virtual piles of pictures now that digital cameras have become nearly disposable in price and cameraphones ubiquitious.  But for all of the advantages of digital media — immediacy, bottomless storage, etc. — there is one serious disadvantage: It takes but a small computer problem to lose it all.  Anyone who’s experienced a hard drive crash can attest to just how many precious memories can be lost in an instant.  And, disaster aside, I think we’ve all grown a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of files and sources of our digital media.

So, given my role as Archivist-in-Chief in our household, Aimee thought I might be able to give AYMB readers some helpful advice by describing what we do in terms of documenting the Monkey, how we archive/curate it all, and how we secure and back it up.  But first, some background.

(continues…)

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7

A Toddler and his iPhone

iPhone

My Monkey with his two favorite things - his iPhone and his monkey. A pic taken with my iPhone, of course.

My two year old has his own iPhone.

Now, before you think I am absolutely insane to buy an expensive phone for my toddler, let me assure you that I did not run out and drop $300 on a new phone for him. No way. However, being the ultimate tech-geek that he is, the Dude did run out a few months ago to get himself the new iPhone 4G. This meant that we had his old iPhone available to be donated to a good cause. We quickly realized that the best cause was our little Monkey.

The Monkey has been playing with our iPhones since around his 2nd birthday, nearly one year ago. When I discovered how toddler-friendly certain iPhone apps could be for him, I researched the most educational and creative apps and loaded them up on our iPhones. I was so impressed with certain apps, that I wrote a post back in April about my favorite iPhone apps for toddlers. With thousands of hits, that post quickly became my most popular blog post. Either there are a ton of other parents out there letting their toddlers play with their iPhone and iPads or people are simply curious to learn more about it.

It does seem that more and more people are discovering that it’s smart to let your kids play with smart phones. An iPhone or other smart phone can, with proper guidance and supervision, be used as a valuable teaching tool for children. The interactive content on an iPhone can help developing brains learn how to problem-solve and figure things out quickly and, when exposed to educational apps, a toddler’s learning process can actually be enhanced. Consider apps to be a valuable supplement to the teaching process already going on in your home or in preschool.

There are pros and cons to letting a toddler use an iPhone, so here are my helpful ideas on safe iPhone play: (continues…)

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A Love Story: The Short Version

jeans

His & Her jeans. Guess which is which.

The Dude is about 2 inches shorter than me. On a good day.

There are days when we’re about the same height, like when I’m in flats and he’s wearing his fancy Cole Haans. And then there are days when I’m about 5 inches taller. Those are the days I wear heels. Those days are few and far between. It’s not because I care about being so much taller than the Dude. It’s because I’m clumsy enough as it is wearing flats.

I’m 5’9 and, before I met the Dude, I usually only dated men taller than me. I didn’t have anything against dating shorter men. Really. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Shorter guys never approached me and I was much too shy to approach anyone, let alone a cute shorter dude that didn’t even look my way. As soon as I sprouted in junior high to become the 2nd tallest girl in the class, the guys immediately stopped teasing and flirting with me. Instead, they asked me to play on their recess basketball teams. In high school, the cute short girls snagged all of my crushes, many of whom were my height or shorter. I never saw tall girls and short boys together. It was only when Tom Cruise married Nicole Kidman that I believed that there were people out there that didn’t give a crap about height.

How many times have you heard a woman say that she would never date a man shorter than her or a man say that he only likes women a certain height?  It’s the kind of stuff I heard in high school and continue to hear well into my 30′s. What gives? (continues…)

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The Good Dad

The Good Dad

The best moments in life are not filled with words. Only love. The Dude and The Monkey, on vacation, in 2008.

Seven years ago, this week, I was introduced to the Dude by my sister.

Before I met him, there was a trend with most of the guys I dated. The more I got to know them, the less I liked them. The opposite was true with the Dude. After every e-mail, phone call, or date, I liked him even more. Within a month, I knew this guy had *The One* potential. But what really locked my heart up was something he said to me shortly after we started dating.

During one of our many conversations about life ambitions, goals, and dreams, the Dude mentioned that he could not wait to be a father. That really floored me, mostly because having kids was the last thing on my mind. I had too many other important things to do, like finish my graduate degree and get a promotion. But here was this highly ambitious and successful 26 year old man telling me that the most important thing he ever wanted to become was a good dad. In that same conversation, he questioned how he would be able to handle the task of working grueling hours at a law firm and being present for his future kids.  He wanted to be there for every milestone, every first day of school, every parent-teacher meeting, and every soccer game. In fact, he wanted to coach the soccer team.  He told me right then and there that he would quit his job if it meant he couldn’t be there for his kids. Despite not knowing him very well at the time, I believed him. Seven years and one kid later, I still believe him. Because it’s true. (continues…)

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6

Introducing Your Kids To Democracy

voteToday is a big day in California. It’s the Primary Election.

I walked over to the polling station down the street from me with my toddler in tow. I didn’t have to take him with me. Grandma is coming over later to babysit and I could have waited until then. I also could have gone later today when the Dude returned from work. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to bring my 2 year old with me because I want him to be a part of this day, even if he’s 16 years away from casting his first vote.

It’s not the Monkey’s first election. He was first introduced to the election process at 2 weeks old. I remember strolling him down the street to our local firehouse in downtown San Francisco. Sure, he slept through all of it but I was glad he was there with me while I performed my civic duty. I hope he is always with me on these important days. (continues…)

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