Designer Daddy

http://thedesignerdaddy.com

Thoughts about daddyhood from a decidedly designery perspective.
Longtime graphic designer and newbie father, DD opines on everything from poorly-designed changing tables to awesomely-designed footy pajamas. And lots of personal stuff mixed...

What inspired you to start blogging?

The short answer is the birth of my son; the longer answer is the onslaught of poorly designed baby crap I came across while preparing for his arrival. I needed a forum to rant and rave about all of it! But Designer Daddy has evolved into many things: product reviews, photo album, crafting ideas, portfolio of my child-related work, and a great networking tool to meet and showcase fellow designer dads.

What makes your blog stand out?

I'd like to think the design helps it stand out — simple, well-organized, yet clever. Like me! ;)

Plus I'm the son and grandson of Baptist ministers who grew up to be one of two gay fathers to our adopted son. So I've got some interesting perspectives to offer on all kinds of stuff.

What are three adjectives that describe your blog?

Witty.
Pretty.
Nitty gritty.

What are you doing when you're not blogging?

Other than thinking about what to blog about next? Chasing around my 2 year old son, running a graphic design studio out of my home, and facing the challenges of being half of a two daddy family of an adopted son. Plus lots of Starbucks.

How would you recommend moms talk to their sons about puberty?

Brent Almond

Most people don't think of Moms being the ones to tackle the task of explaining puberty to their sons, but they are uniquely qualified in 3 ways: 1. Moms are used to dispensing motherly advice in a way that's both loving and helpful. The same tactic can be applied to this tender, new topic: how to treat acne, time to start wearing deodorant, that crack in your voice won't last forever. 2. Many Moms also serve as primary health practitioner, so again, the skill set is already in place to deal with some of the more "clinical" aspects of puberty, but with a Mom's sensitivity: hair in new places, growth spurts, sexual attraction. 3. And lastly, Moms offer the wisdom and experience to train their sons how to respectfully treat a girl (being one themselves) or another boy (having interacted with at least one). Of course the "masturbation talk" can be passed off to Dad or Dad surrogate. Mom shouldn't have to do everything.
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What's your favorite holiday app?

Brent Almond

Our son is 2, so we're just now starting to introduce him to Christmas traditions so he can be good and indoctrinated by next year. Aiding in this process have been 3 apps: 1) A Charlie Brown Christmas ($6.99) is not only a great way to familiarize our son with everyone's favorite Holiday special, but it's also a fun, interactive book. 2) Toca Hair Salon (FREE) is a goofy little app akin to Wooly Willy (but way more involved), where you can trim, blow dry, color, accessorize and even grow hair on both Santa and a freaky-looking Christmas tree. Fun for adults, too! 3) Christmas Song Machine ($1.99) is great to teach him to sing along to several Xmas favorites including "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." The voices can get a little grating after a while, but nothing a little eggnog can't remedy.
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What is your best tip for not losing your temper with children?

Brent Almond

From my own limited experience (first-time father of a 2 year-old boy) here are the top 5 tips to myself: 1. Breathe. 2. Sleep. 3. Exercise. 4. Ask for help. 5. Focus. BONUS: Read through all the other comments here! I find great wisdom in others and I'm sure you'll find things that read true for you in several of these posts. http://designerdaddy.com/2012/01/keeping-your-cool-with-kid/
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What is a fun and creative way to preserve baby memories?

Brent Almond

Blogging! At least that's what I tell myself when I think of all the other things I *could* be doing. But I also keep my iPhoto gallery very organized, making sure to name each upload of photos and group by event (Christmas, trip to the zoo, etc.) Then all of the random photos get grouped together by month. We're up to month 26... at some point it's gotta go to years, but not quite yet. :) We also kept all of the cards our son got for his 1st birthday, to show him how loved he was from the get go. When I left for college, my Mom put together a collection of photos from my childhood, and included a birthday card from my first babysitter and a photo of us on my 1st birthday. All that to say, even if you don't know what to do with everything now, keeping it to pass on or show to your kids when they're older is probably just as memorable as a well-organized photo album or scrapbook.
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What are your three favorite picture books for children? (please specify the age range)

Brent Almond

Everything in the "In My..." series ("In My Pond", "In My Den", etc.) by Sara Gillingham & Lorena Siminovich Fun and interactive, yet short and sweet, each book features an animal finger puppet you can wiggle from the back, while turning the pages. Eachends with the baby animal in their home (be it nest, pond, den, etc.) with their family. What I found unique about this is that the two “parents” don’t have gender-specific features (like eyelashes, bow ties, etc) to show they are “mommy” and “daddy.” This allows me to read these to my son (who has 2 dads), pointing out at the end which bird, fish, bear, etc. represents Papa and which represents Daddy, without it being confusing to him. Other than the fact that we’re, you know, animals. Also fun for kids with opposite sex parents! :) "Creature ABC" by Andrew Zuckerman A gorgeously simple book of animal photography. The dramatic photos elicit the most dramatic animal noises from our 2 year old, and you can tell he gets a little excited/nervous every time we get close to the L page. He often kisses the photo of the roaring lion, just to make sure it doesn’t pounce. (There's also a related floor puzzle!) "Daddy, Papa, and Me" by Lelea Newman & Carol Thompson Best book yet I've found portraying a 2 dad family. Fun, sweet, and reflective of real families — in that the 2 dads are exhausted at the end of a long day playing with their toddler! "Mommy, Mama, and Me" also available.
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What's on your bucket list of things to do with your kids this summer?

Brent Almond

I've got my 2 1/2 year old son signed up for swimming lessons. We did it 2 summers ago and had a blast. And he's young enough I still get to be in the water with him, so lots of cool breaks from work! :) I also have a goal of learning 1 new way to sneak veggies or fruit into his food (or outright have him try) per week. I found a great list of healthy snacks that has some good ideas (pears, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, quesadillas, eggs, etc) http://bit.ly/NyXYSL
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We're looking for decorating inspiration! Please share a link to a photo of your child's room.

Brent Almond

As a graphic designer I put some pretty heavy pressure on myself to make my son's room as awesome as possible. Inspired by a couple of pieces of art I already had and my love of Aquaman, I picked an undersea theme for the nursery. It would include all the requisite "boy" colors, but also be fun and a little atypical. It was difficult, but we found cool bedding and various stuff for the walls over the last couple of years to come up with some truly unique decor. The final (and largest) touch was to paint a mural on the wall(s) — a dream I'd always had for when I finally became a dad. Read all about the process and see photos here: http://designerdaddy.com/2011/11/the-mural-project-mission-accomplished/
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What's a great finger food that your kids love? Please include a link.

Brent Almond

My son is 2-1/2, so what he loves (and hates) changes with the tides. Bananas, pretzels, yogurt, etc. have all had their ins and outs. Recently he surprised us and took a piece of pear from my bowl and proceeded to chomp down 3 pieces! So continue to put new stuff in front of your kids. And even if I don't eat dinner with my son, I at least I sit and munch fruit or veggies while he's eating, in hopes he'll emulate me. Eventually something will spark his interest...if only temporarily. The link I'm sharing is a trick I used when JJ was younger to get him in a mood to eat. Not directly related to finger food, but it sure was entertaining! :)
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