The Rewards of Fatherhood, Fitness and Frugality
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Save Her Brain

Me, Thing One, Maria and Coach Bill$

Me, Thing One, Maria and Coach Bill$

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal called This Is Your Brain Without Dad. Scientists studied rodents called degus whose brains react similarly to humans’ brains to environmental stimuli. These scientists attempted to observe what happens when fathers are taken out of the picture. And the verdict was:

  1. When deprived of their father, the degu pups exhibit both short- and long-term changes in nerve-cell growth in different regions of the brain.
  2. Their preliminary analysis indicates that fatherless degu pups exhibit more aggressive and impulsive behavior than pups raised by two parents.

In other words when degus where deprived of their fathers care (licking, preening, snuggling) the degus suffered brain damage. The study also showed short absences of fathers away from pups was less damaging than long or permanent absences. The study also goes on to say that the pups continued this brain damaged state into adulthood. I will let you read the article to get the explanation as to the science-y reasons any of this happens.

It got me to thinking, am I causing my kids brain damage? I’ve tried my best to form my schedule where I can spend as much time with the babies as possible. To a degree, I’m successful but not without a lot of sacrafice in other areas of my life. But even with that effort my non-parenting obligations simply don’t neatly conform to a court ordered 50/50 custody schedule.

Inevitably, I’m spending guilt-filled time away from the babies. Although the babies are much better off than most children of split marriages/relationships in that they see both of their parents consistently and frequently, it’s still not ideal. The article was a swift reminder I need to be diligent in carving out time with the girls, both quality and quantity. There are a few things I try to do and would suggest for any parent, especially parents who do not live with the children 100% of the time:

Choose your companion well.  Eddie Murphy once joked the secret to relationship happiness is finding someone as f’d up as you and settling down. [Read more →]

November 20, 2009   3 Comments

Flowers Don’t Know The Rules

source: Flickr by aftab
Source: Flickr by aftab

Hey babies,

I just had a thought about something. I wanted to share it with you today. You may not understand it now but I want you to remember it. It might make more sense when you get older. It’s about rules. I know you guys don’t like rules for the most part. But rules are very important to us all. For instance, it’s a rule that you should look both ways before you cross the street. That’s a very good rule and one you should always follow.

Here is what you should know about rules. [Read more →]

March 18, 2009   2 Comments

Protecting the Fragile Self Image

Jim Crow
Flickr by 77krc

So daughter number one (Thing One or T-One) complained to me the other day that she had to do yet another paper on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She then went on to explain how she’ll have to do a paper a year all the way up through middle school. Still being of single digit age, I doubt my daughter has any real understanding of King’s significance, especially in the Obama era.

I asked her what was wrong with writing a paper a year on King. She responded that she was running out of things to say. Mind you, each paper so far has been a one paragraph essay. She went on to explain, “All he did was help end segregation!” (As if that’s some small feat.)

My mother (The Duchess), who was in earshot, gasped. “All he did?” My mother grew up in the segregated south, participated in sit-ins and marched on Washington in ’63. So to her saying that s all King did was, well, a little disappointing. But my mom wasn’t so disappointed in my daughter. She was disappointed in me. Somehow I had dropped the ball in making my daughter aware of her history. Where we had been as people of color in this country and how far we had come.

“That little girl needs to know!”  [

January 23, 2009   4 Comments