Some days ago Tosia turned 6 months. I decided to celebrate it in a unique way and that is how this song was created. Although it is in Polish, I invite you to watch the video and follow up with your own version for any kid-related occassion!
First human to do anything significant makes it to the news. Moreover, if this is as newsworthy as being first to give birth on Mars, this would appear in headlines around the world and be mentioned in history books for both Earth and Mars kids.
While we still do not know, who will be that child and their parents (unless you already have a secret plan to be the first mother or father of a Martian-born child), the movie The Space Between Us sparked the discussion. This film depicts a story of a boy who, after being born on Mars as the first human being, travels to Earth to meet his father.
Interestingly, the issue which can go unnoticed, is what kind of child, both physically and mentally, such real-life Martian might become. Recently the American tech magazine, The Wired, published a short interview with Dorit Donoviel, deputy chief scientist at Baylor’s National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Therefore, if you indeed consider raising your offspring on Mars, here are a few tips based on science.
Some topics are raising high emotions. Surely, sharing a bed with other people is one of them. We love to know who slept with whom, and whether it was a one-night stand or turned into longer relationship. Sometimes we cannot imagine sharing a bed with a person A, but dream about it, when we think of a person B.
This is exactly how we also react to bed sharing with a newborn or infant. The issue always raises emotions and there are as many supporters as opponents. When I find myself trapped between many opinions, at times very contradictive, I love to step back and see the problem from a different angle. For parenting issues, I often wonder how things are handled in other places in the world. If you like to travel, taste different food and learn various cultures, and you happen to be a parent, you may sometimes wonder, how all these foreign parents raise their kids.
Some time ago I spoke to Tolu, born in Nigeria, raised in the UK, currently living in Germany, who is a mother of a one-year-old Jacob. Living across many countries and cultures, she is very sensitive to differences between them. She has shared with me some great observations, which I published last November. But I did not mention bed sharing then. I decided to spare this hot topic for today…
I am not sure what it takes to be a Perfect Housewife. And yet, I will do my best and suggest an example of what a Perfect Housewife may be doing daily. The example is real and taken from the family I know very well. Have you been in any of these situations? Do they seem familiar? It is only a man’s perspective, so remain vigilant while going through the Perfect Housewife’s typical day…
No, you have not misheard. Men do celebrate baby showers. At least in my country, Poland. However, it is only remotely similar to what typically women do for such an occasion. If a baby shower is a cute, nice, sweet, female get-together, full of exultation and small talk; male party is crude, rough and ribald. There are also a few other format differences. Men’s baby showers take place shortly after a baby is born, usually when a mom is still in hospital. It has a special name, which literally can be translated as bellybutton party. And last but not least, there is alcohol involved. Lots of it…
The tradition of a bellybutton party is at least a few centuries long, but women still ask themselves a question, why the heck men do this? Why do they meet and get totally drunk to celebrate a newborn? Especially if a mother is still suffering physical pain in hospital and need her partner to be sober and ready to help?
I did not understand it either until I threw my own bellybutton party some weeks ago. And until I spoke to my friends who joined me in this joyful male celebration.
So ladies, buckle up. Here is why we, men, really do it…
It’s a warm September evening. In a quiet residential area on the Adriatic coast on the Croatian island of Pag, there is an old house with a garden with a few fig-trees. Under one of these trees, at the wooden table, sits an elderly man. He is gazing upon shimmering lights of the setting sun, touching delicately small see waves. A gentle breeze touches man’s face when he mindlessly chews one of the ripe figs.
He seems to be far away in his thoughts. Very far.
In the neighboring garden a small family party starts but the man looks like he does not hear anything and keep watching intensively at the see, as if he was looking for something.
Suddenly a little few-year old girl comes to him and touches his hand.
Grandpa Mladen, will you tell me a story tonight?
Mladen looks like he just came back to life, having heard his granddaughter’s voice.
Of course I will, my dear.
He takes her on his laps. His eyes are getting wet…
When I saw this happening in front of me many years ago, I did not understand much. I had no idea how Mladen could sit all day at this table, chewing figs and watching the sea, while life was going by. He only cheered up when his granddaughter Jasna was around. But one day he decided to explain his life’s mystery to my older friend…
When I became a father three months ago I’d known a couple things about parenting. At the same time, I did not know a million of other things. As you can see the ratio was not very favorable. I bet it has improved a little in the last 3 months though. Enough to start bragging about how knowledgeable father I already am. Obviously not in front of moms. In such confrontation I would be knocked-out in the first round. But in front of would-be fathers or brand new dads… Why not? Even if the parenthood universe is infinite, I feel like I am some light years farther in this journey than I was on the Big Bang day.
Then it occured to me, that I know some other experienced dads, who would probably feel the same, ready to share their wisdom with greenhorns, who have just earned a privilege to call themselves fathers. And this is how the idea of Universal Rules for New Dads was conceived. I asked a few mates from various countries, such as France, Netherlands, Romania, Italy and Poland, to answer the question: what is the best piece of advice you would share with a new father? The number and variety of responses amazed me. Here is the selection of best suggestions and thoughts, in my personal opinion.
Are you curious what boys recommend to other boys?
Santa Clause has a tough job. He needs to play a bad cop and a good cop at the same time. There is nothing like a free lunch in this world and Santa Clause has to stick to this eternal rule.
He needs to make sure, whether a child deserves a present or not, by challenging them with a fundamental question: “Have you been a good boy or girl this year?” It is amazing how simple cliché questions, such as that one, are common in our everyday language, often being just a sign of true concern or genuine interest. However, I need to admit, when I hear “Is Tosia a good girl?”, I really do not know how to answer the question.
Here is why…
In most countries in Europe, fathers can take paid paternity leave. The length varies, financial conditions as well. Usually it also depends how much leave a mother can and want to take. However, there is one fact that is common for all, that I guess many people have in the back of their minds – fathers do not typically take advantage of this leave.
This creates a dilemma. It is rarely an automatic decision, contrary to most women’s choices, because fathers usually do not have to take a leave. Hence, they consider pros and cons very carefully.
I also found myself asking two fundamental questions. Shall I take a paternity leave? And if yes, for how long? Here are the areas I’d considered until I finally made up my mind…