Marisa Is Super Versatile: Mia Moda Stroller

This Tremendous Teeter Totter Trumps

We are big fans of minimalist children’s toys here at RD. So when we found The Paloma Teeter Totter we fawned hard. These handcrafted eco-friendly teeter totters are each made to simple perfection for your kids to enjoy endlessly. The Paloma Teeter Totter was the creation of Ink & Wood’s creator Derek Kistner one Christmas a few years back for his niece…Paloma. Ding. It has quickly become one of her favorite toys where everyone is invited for a rock. Tetter totters are nothing new to the children’s toy world but these ones are so perfectly styled they will fit into your house like a modern art piece you want to display, not something you will end up putting on the sidewalk for bulk trash pickup after the kids have grown. Heirloom quality, hours of fun. This is a toy that the whole family can love. “Whether your little one sails the seas from the living room or builds a tiny fort hideout for stuffed friends – this teeter totter is sure to bring hours of joy and laughter.”

Fix Your Bad WiFi Forever

Can we get the data from Fitbit on the number of calories burned every day by people getting up off the couch or up out of bed to go downstairs to restart their wireless router because their internet is crawling? That number has got to be in the millions right? Just think about how many Frappuccinos that can add up to! Up until recently that caloric number in my house had to equal out to at least an extra scoop of mint chocolate chip at night, at least that is what I told myself on the trips to the freezer. What makes that even worse is that living with slow WiFi had become totally acceptable! Death, taxes and slow internet as the saying famously goes right?

Buffering, router restarting, giving up on trying to load a funny gif, dropped facetime calls with family out of state, we have all become accustomed to waiting or giving up altogether. Things were so bad that we had to choose between keeping our baby monitor on or watching the next buffering episode of Orange Is The New Black smoothly. “Hun, do you have her on?” was a phrase I’d yell from our home office nightly because the internet signal coming from one room away was so bad that I felt like I was 15 again trying to load a picture of Pamela Anderson (hey, it was 1998) on my computer line by line by line before my parents came in.

A little over five months ago I had had enough of this weak signal, so I broke down and bought a brand new router on Amazon and had it overnighted to my house. I made sure it had good reviews and cost me a lot of money because that is the sensible thing one does right? We also changed our ISP in hopes that they would be better, faster and our lives would become easier. Things seemed okay at first but then quickly went back to being that same crappy internet acceptance lifestyle that we had become accustomed to. Looking back things were never better with the new router, it was just a brief psychological lift that we had been experiencing from having something new and shiny to look at. When we switched ISPs we opted for a plan that boasted 150mbps, our last speed test with the old company and router topped out a 4mbps. F-O-U-R. At this point, it didn’t take Benedict Cumberbatch to figure that our house was part of the problem.

One of the great things about working at Relevant Dad is that we spend a lot of out time finding new products that families might enjoy. On a post-it note full of products I had come across one way or another, I had written down eero and underlined it twice and noted next to it “better wifi” and then I had underlined that twice too, which told me through my keen deductive reasoning that eero was something I probably better check out. Call it fate or luck but the same day that I had a realization that my house was not built for a good wifi signal I took another look at eero.com. “Finally, WiFi That Works” were the words that greeted me as the page loaded. Okay, you have my interest eero. Now what. WFB, work from backyard the page proclaimed. Amusing, as if that is even possible! However, I like this idea that WiFi is a system not originating from one point in your house but from three. Multiple access points working together? Well, that sounded like the very thing my house required. If my life were like an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia this would be the point where the theme music begins to play and the title cards would read “The gang gets better internet.”

When my eero WiFi system came I knew from the moment I opened that package that it was going to change our time at home online for the better. Just the attention to detail that went into the packaging was impressive. You know that old adage, “dress for the job you want”? Well, eero comes dressed ready to impress at the MET gala. Each eero access point comes with supremely spooled power cords and slimline outlet plugs. I can’t emphasize enough how impressed I was at the packaging display, it was almost too pretty to disrupt but the lust for working WiFi conquers all. Give me my funny GIFs new wireless router overlords, please!

The setup from top to bottom took me less than 20 minutes, it literally was plug and play. From the comfort of the eero App I selected my personal preferences for the system and worked my way from the home base access point to one in our bedroom and then another in the office. Each step of the way the app guided me through my options. Once the system was up and running I took it for a test drive. Two iPad, two iPhones, one Apple TV, a baby monitor and a PC all were connected and working the network. My speed test topped out at 134 Mbps. I cried. You have to remember that just a week before it was 4 Mbps. What makes eero stand apart from the rest of the field is it’s mesh system that blankets your home with reliable WiFi. Our house works with three access points but the cool thing is we can add more if we want to and it will work even better. Inconceivable! It’s 2016 people, your furnace or central air are no longer the most important systems in your home. Without fast WiFi securely blanketing your abode your family will be left behind.  So listen to my cautionary tale, don’t be fooled into buying a better cable package, or a new router with that one extra antenna, run, run, run to eero.com and fix your bad wifi forever.

It has been about two months of using our new eero system and we have had no complaints. The only time that it has powered off was when some guy took a joyride into a telephone pole a few streets over and we lost power for 3 hours. The system has even gotten faster due in part to some sort of magic on eero’s part. Software and security updates  to the system to make it safe and efficient happen automatically so we don’t have to worry about a thing. When we have guests over it’s super easy to allow them access to our network through the App. No more yelling “19865356 lower case y k 6785 capitol TXY 1345″ from the notebook you have your network id written down in. Oh, and no more sharing your embarrassing password that you have had since signing up for AOL instant messenger in the late 90’s. It gets better, eero has even introduced parental controls that allow family time to stay family time with no distractions. FINALLY, WiFi that works! Sing it in high everyone! The only gripe that I have and it’s a big one is that all those extra calories I used to burn getting up off the couch to re-start the old solitary router are catching up on my waistline.  #NoMoreFrappachinos

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You’re Too Old for SXSW Anyway

As you were changing diapers and getting breakfast on the table this morning, young and carefree artists around the country were packing their suitcases and catching a flight or loading gear into a van en route to Austin, TX. We went a couple years ago and while it truly was an experience of a lifetime, the extremely late nights, copious amounts of Lone Star, and painful high-pitched ringing in our ears that prevented us from actually falling asleep as the sun was coming up left us boarding the plane home with one thought on our mind: When did I get so OLD? On the surface, it’s easy to get swept up in a melancholy lust for a responsibility-free life but, damnit, you’re a dad now and you’ve got shit to do. For those of us who cannot attend but still want in on the party, there’s an app for that. Specifically, if you’re a cord cutter, you can now download this free app on Roku which allows you to watch livestreams of concerts March 16-19. Sure, it’s not exactly Rainey Street at 2am but for now, the comfort of our sofa with a good beer in hand is a pretty good deal until we get the opportunity to go back again (and we will).

To The Mother of My Daughter on International Women’s Day

The #LikeAGirl campaign started up a few weeks after we found out that we were having a daughter. At the time, I remember thinking well into the future when our little girl would be in middle school and high school wondering what she would be like and what challenges she would face in this largely man driven world. I had never given it much thought, the issues, the challenges and the abuse that she might face in her life but when I did realize it, it turned a pit in my stomach. I then thought about everything that you have faced and everything that you are dealing with today. All those little and big things that you just swallow and never talk about. My reality shattered a little bit more. This world has not been easy for women. That is something I have learned more and more about since becoming the father to a girl and a husband to you. Some prime real estate in my brain has been spent thinking about how we are going to combat the injustices she will face in the coming years. How do we even begin? Now that it’s International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month is upon us it’s really easy to find an article, video or podcast about powerful and influential women that we can turn our daughter onto as inspirations. She will need more than just this month because questions still remain for her. Will she grow up in a world with a woman as President? Will she see a clear mix of gender in the corporate world, or on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley? Who will she read about at the library with great wonder about and try to emulate?

My true hope is that it’s you she continues to mimic. Because right now it sure is. Every morning when she wakes up she screams your name, “Mommy” she yells because you are her shining star. She is your shadow, following you from room to room, watching you with earnest intent picking up on everything that you do. For that, we are lucky because you are a strong, powerful woman. You inspire her creativity, you teach her what it is to be a modern woman, you guide her so gracefully, you give her adventure and a lust for life. You show her that a woman can have a successful career, she can manage to work 9-5 and then play with her, cook dinner, clean and then work some more. You teach her that it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to laugh it’s okay to want more, to want better and to rise above. Every day that she watches you live your life #LikeAGirl it stacks the odds in her favor to become an amazing woman herself. Seeing you being a strong multifaceted woman is almost the most important thing our daughter can witness in her young life. The only thing that is maybe more important is how I treat you.

For as much as our girl is emulating you, she is just as often watching me. Watching how the men in her life treat the women in her life. She is studying how we talk to you, how we comfort you, she is absorbing all of our mannerisms and actions around you. She is a living witness to all of the emotions we share, the conversations we have, the things we do to and for each other. All of these moments will tell her in the future what is and what isn’t acceptable when it comes to the way the men in her life interact with her. As time unfolds and our daughter grows I hope that I am doing as good a job at being a good influence on her life as you are each and every day.

So thank you, mother of our daughter, for living life #LikeAGirl and raising a pretty great one at that.

Thinking of Making A Baby? Get A Puppy First

Our dog turned 9 years old today, a far cry from the puppy he used to be.  These days, he lays around putting up with the constant squeals of adoration from a 16-month-old toddler who just loves him to death. And he loves her. In his advancing years, he’s found a friend who will feed him from the table, snuggle with him, share (sometimes unwillingly) toys, and above all, keep him active. It struck me as I was changing the second dirty diaper of the morning that having a baby is exactly like having a puppy.  Actually, thanks to insurance the whole bringing home a baby deal was cheaper than the adopting a dog deal. Thanks Obama! So, for you younger Millennials who are not sure about that whole ‘having a baby’ thing…get a puppy first. It’s exactly the same.

Here’s how:

  1. From the moment you bring that new bundle of joy into your home, it needs non-stop attention.
  2. It pees everywhere.
  3. It poops a lot and you have to clean it up.
  4. 1,2,3 maybe even 4 times a night you will be awoken because it needs to eat, or play, or cry or poop. Did I mention poop?
  5. No, really. You actually have to wipe sh*t from the floor… if you haven’t stepped in it first.
  6. Random people will stop by your house to see the cute new addition to your family.
  7. Everything you Google will start with “Is it okay if my ____ ate…”
  8. Your budget will take a serious hit, for like the rest of your life.
  9. They want to be held. All. The. Time.
  10. If you put them down they will just knock over your glass of water. Okay, your glass of wine, they will knock over your glass of wine.
  11. You and your wife will become great at making deals. “I cleaned up their mess last night, so now it’s your turn.” “Yes, but, I need to make them breakfast so you have to clean them up.” “Right.”
  12. You spend a lot of energy trying to get them to crap in the appropriate place.
  13. When you take their stuffie away it’s literally the end of the world.
  14. At some point, you give in and they will sleep in bed with you. Then, you will never get them out.
  15. You can entertain them for hours by showing them videos of animals on YouTube.
  16. They will cry when their toy rolls under the couch, and then once you retrieve it they will do it again because now it’s a fun game. Don’t create fun games. That is a parenting rule.
  17. If Mom says “no” they sneak off to Dad. He always says “yes”. Until mom tells him to say “no”…then, then he says “no”.
  18. They will become overconfident in their couch climbing abilities and end up in a heap under the coffee table crying.
  19. Thunderstorms are the devil.
  20. After a minute or an hour, maybe a day, you won’t be able to imagine life without them. Love for them is unconditional. Even if they break all your stuff, poop on the floor, eat everything you own, scare you to death, keep you awake  for hours at night, won’t listen, demand unlimited attention and effort and drive you f*cking crazy. You love them so damn much.

If you can handle raising a puppy into a dog then sure go ahead and have that baby. Soon they will become a toddler and that kid and your dog will become best friends. What’s better than a house full of love?

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Bloxels are Simultaneously Nostalgic and The Future

“When I was your age, we played 8-bit games, we didn’t build them.” That’s what you’ll be saying once your kids start creating their own games with Bloxels. Pairing technology with the physical world, simply arrange the color cubes on the pixel grid to create terrain and characters, then capture the pixel art with the free Bloxel Builder app. You’re then ready to animate and configure your creations in order to play your very own video game creation. Afterall, you can’t really complain that your kids play too many video games when they’re actually building them.

A “Relevant Dad Toy Fair NY16″ pick – one of the best products we found at Toy Fair.

For the Budding Vinyl Enthusiast

You’ve worked hard to craft your record collection. But considering how much you’ve dropped on it over the years, the thought of your kid handling that first pressing of The Beatles’ White Album on white vinyl sends chills down your spine regardless of how much you want to get them into music. The good folks at Light in the Attic Records & Third Man Records have teamed up to release a new album of “kids” music & kid-sized turntable that your child can call their own. We use the term “kids” music loosely since the compilation features tracks from Nina Simone, Jerry Garcia, Harry Nilsson, Donovan, Vashti Bunyan, Shel Silverstein, Carole King, Kermit the Frog, to name a few and includes a full-color story book to accompany the music while Jack White’s Third Man Records produced the portable mini record player which has built in speakers. You can grab both the turntable and the record as a bundle or pick up the record, CD, download, or turntable individually via the “buy” link below. Kid’s music that won’t drive you insane and gear that they can call their own? That’s a win-win.

The Relevant Dad Guide To Fantasy Football & Dirty Diapers

As we publish this it’s just two short weeks until the start of the NFL season. Two weeks to go and already your hopes and dreams for Jordy Nelson to carry you to a 1st place finish in your fantasy league and your hopes and dreams for a fall full of uninterrupted football Sundays are both dead on arrival. The only things you can count on as locks this season are that Eddie Lacy’s amount of touches will equal your dirty diaper touches. Being a Relevant Dad and being in a fantasy football league are both full-time jobs that both require a lot of intricate attention and a lot of love. So how does one really find the time to handle both of these things during the season? We have some tips for you:

1. Draft Pro Quo – Unless your significant other is a fellow fantasy football player, chances are they will not love the idea of you being MIA for a few hours during your draft while they navigate the bedtime routine solo. Mitigate the draft time loss with your family by simultaneously planning a date night for you and your spouse and some extra play time with your kiddos.

2. Family League – Chances are you are in a few leagues already so what is one more, right? If your children are old enough, creating a family league is a great way to share one of your passions with them. David Gonos has some great suggestions for involving your kids broken down to different age ranges here.

3. Setting The Table > Setting Your Lineup – Family time should always come first on Sundays. So when it’s time to make a pile of pancakes for the family you need to trust that your RB3 will still be a game-time decision after the syrup runs out. Even Adam Schefter takes break once and awhile. We suggest making a routine of times you check and set your lineup. Saturdays are your best friend and Sundays around 12:45 are even better. Get things set once the kids are in bed Saturday night and do your last minute tweaks before the 1pm games kickoff.

4. Red Zone is Your BFF –  There is zero chance you can lay on the couch eating a steak and cheese and drinking 5 beers with your buddies this year. That fantasy left the stadium when you saw that second line on the pregnancy test. However, there are plenty of ways to catch as much of the action as possible and still play hide and seek with your kids. Red Zone was probably the brainchild of a mom or dad. It’s probably the perfect parenting hack for football lovers. You can have the best of both worlds without having to neglect one of the other. Pro Tip: Hide and seek match + iPad + closet + Red Zone = #winning.

5. Listen To The Pros – Find a fantasy advice site and trust it. We love 4for4 as a good go-to site for rankings, breaking news on players, and advice. We asked John Paulsen for some ranking advice and for some advice on being a dad and playing fantasy football. We are keeping the ranking advice to ourselves (no mercy) but here are his thoughts going into the season.

“Being a father to a young child is a time-consuming and rewarding job and one could say the same thing about managing a fantasy team. In order to balance fatherhood and fantasyhood, I recommend new dads scale back their fantasy obligations once the baby arrives. Keep your most important league and get rid of the rest. The other option is to only play daily fantasy. There is less in-season management, and you won’t have to worry about injuries or waivers. Being a parent gets easier as time goes on. At some point your child can be left in a room and you can be fairly confident that they won’t find a way to kill themselves. Once you pass this important milestone, your free time will increase steadily. A second league can be added, or maybe you can play both season-long and daily. Finally, around age 6 or 7, your child may express interest in fantasy football. This is a great way to learn about math and reasoning, and to spend quality time with dad. Maybe you co-own a team. Or maybe you start a league with the neighborhood kids, so everyone can own their own team. Before you know it, they’ll go off to college and you can play in as many leagues as your better half will allow. Don’t spend their childhood scouring the waiver wire, it’s just not worth it. Play in one league to keep yourself sane, but stop there.” You can find John on twitter at @4for4_John and you can hear him on The Most Accurate Podcast on Stitcher.

6. Have Fun – If you watch FX’s The League you know that you want to be more Taco and less Ruxin. Just have fun, dad. These are the best years of your life. Enjoy your family and enjoy your football.

The Relevant Dad Guide to Breastfeeding

Vert Hu, Vert Hu, Vert Hu, Vert Hu. For the past 5 months, my white noise machine has been a breast pump. I drift to sleep at the “new parent” hour of 9-9:30 to the sound of my wife sitting in bed next to me, making food for our daughter. I hope my daughter appreciates it because my wife loathes pumping and me? Yeah, I hate it too. I want my wife back. I also want my wife’s boobs back. Hell, she wants her boobs back. Breastfeeding is one of the greatest gifts a mother can give her child.  But let’s be honest, it also really sucks.

We didn’t go into this thinking that breastfeeding was a serious option. The general sentiment was, “No way, it creeps me out a little…” and “They are my boobs, I don’t want to give them up like that, maybe it’s selfish but…”. Then the research happened. “Well, ok. Ok… *sigh*, ok. Well, I mean. Shit. I guess it’s probably better, who am I to deny our kid that? Right?” Right. 

Here is our first bit of advice for dads-to-be. Talk about it. Sit down before you try to get pregnant, sit down while you are pregnant, sit down while you are really, really pregnant and talk things over. Your wife needs that and you need that. Seriously, she needs someone other than her sister or mother to talk to about this. She needs to talk through this whole your-body-is-not-your-own thing. This is the same girl who has been doing that crazy self-conscious bra trick where it suddenly comes unhooked and is pulled out an arm hole in her American Apparel tee shirt.  Pretty soon her boobs (or talk thereof) are about to be out in the world a lot, and everyone will be talking about them in one form or another.

People love to talk about breastfeeding ad nauseam. “Are you breastfeeding?” “How much are you producing?” “Are you eating lactation cookies?” “What does it feel like?” “Can you not do that in front of me?” Yeah, that last one will make you want to flip on someone around month 4 when your kid is near hysterics. Sorry, but she’s eating NOW. Maybe you are thinking “Awesome sauce, I love tits, this will be great.” Of course you love them, it’s partly how you became a dad in the first place. Trust us, breastfeeding can get old real fast. Yes, it’s beautiful and it’s wonderful and the most peaceful, idyllic moments of young parenthood come when there is a good latch, everything is quiet in your house, and your wife is nourishing your child. But other times?  It can suck.

For us, breastfeeding was a horrible, emotional, and painful process. It started the night our daughter was born via emergency C-section. She latched, but it just didn’t seem like anything was happening. Then came the chapping, the chaffing, the crying, the “I can’t do this!”, the “What the fuck is wrong with my body?” “What is wrong with ME?”. We just sat there in the middle of the night exhausted and angry that what should be so natural, just… wasn’t. The frustration continued but grew to include our daughter. She was trying so hard to find the liquid gold that we joked she looked like rabid vampire. It was amusing for like, a second, but then the reality hit. We were not making enough milk for our baby. I still say “we” because we were a team, but truly and horribly, this burden was all my wife’s to carry. I tried to help, but there is no way we men can console a woman who is devastated she is just not producing what her child needs.

We quickly supplemented with formula since our little one had lost 11% of her body weight. In that decision, we could have said goodbye to the breast for good, but we talked and decided to persevere. My wife, the champion, has this competitive edge to her that would not let her quit, so we found a lactation consultant we connected with. This was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Our consultant took the time to work with us as a family, and eventually, we found our way to what worked. Breastfeeding never measured up to what we had imagined in the bliss of pregnancy, but perhaps more importantly, we discovered what worked best for us.

That is our great advice for those just starting their breastfeeding journey. Find out what works for you and stick with it.  Own it.  Love it. No family is alike. You may do 50% formula, 50% breastfeeding. Perfect. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You may find that pumping 100% of the time works best. Good on you. Run with that. That is your choice and it’s the best one you can make. The breast vs. formula battle is a shit show and totally unnecessary. Every situation is different and if anyone makes you feel otherwise, tell them to piss off. When writing this piece I took a quick poll of other dads in the office. Over 75% of them had similar stories to ours. You see? Every family is different, and every family is rocking it.

Feeding your baby is a struggle no matter what route choose. After 6 months of nourishing our daughter, my wife says, “I still feel inadequate. I question what I am doing every day. Why is my baby not satisfied, why does she pull off and stare at the dogs, why am I still not making enough? Am I selfish to want to quit this every day? Why do I only produce 1oz in 30 minutes when the other moms in my office can do 6oz in half that time? It’s a deeply personal struggle that just wrecks my self-esteem.” My wife also recently said, “this journey has been so hard and unrewarding, but I am proud of it. It’s ours and we have done an amazing job given the circumstances.” Yes, you have. It is a beautiful thing she is doing for our daughter and for us as a family.

Vert Hu, Vert Hu, Vert Hu, Vert Hu. We leave you with some simple rules to follow when you embark on this breastfeeding journey.

  1. Never tell your wife “Well, you are not the only woman who…” Nope. Nope. Nope. Stop right there, brah. Right now, in this moment, when she is emotionally drained, yes, yes she is the only damn woman in all of history who is going through this. She could give a shit about the rest of them. In that moment it’s all about her. Embrace it.
  2. Grab her some Lansinoh Lanolin cream and some Soothies long before your labor and stash them in your go-bag. When her nipples are fire and she is choking back tears in the hospital, give them to her and she will thank you forever. Really, 6 months later my wife still talks about it. Pro-tip: put them in the fridge.
  3. Do what is best for your family. You have a family now! How great is that? Just do what is best for you. It’s simple.
  4. Have your lactation consultant picked out before you even go into labor. This will be a crucial relationship in the early days of breastfeeding. These amazing women can turn a nightmarish experience into tranquility in a matter of minutes.
  5. Buy her some sexy nursing bras. She might laugh at first but after 3 months in a beige nursing bra that looks like it belongs on a granny in the YMCA locker room, she will be overjoyed she has it. (So will you.)
  6. Thank her for what she is doing. Your kid can’t, but you can and you should every day. Flowers from time to time won’t hurt either.
  7. Most insurance plans cover at least some model of breast pump. Do the homework for her so it’s one less thing she has to worry about.
  8. Get up and help whenever you can. It may not be easy, but solidarity at 3am goes a long way.