Stuff that makes baby look good
Okay, I was just gonna post this photo and be done with it, but then I started poking around to see if I could post a link of where to buy JJ’s awesome Darth Vader tee (which, by the way, I unknowingly dressed him in this morning — on the unofficial Star Wars holiday). Couldn’t find it anywhere, so I searched the Googles and came upon this…
I spooked the dog with my multiple “OH MY GOD”s at how adorable these are. Painfully cute stuff. Visit Mi Cielo’s Etsy shop and check out the full line of tees and infant bodysuits (some of which come with matching rattles).
In addition to several more Star Wars designs, there’s a gaggle of other pop culture icons to make you giggle: Optimus Prime, Thor, Mr. T, Ron Burgundy(!), and Totoro to name a few (yes she also has bunnies and pirates and Elmo for you less-adventurous types). Of course I’m begging her for an Aquaman. Each is custom made in Hawaii, so they ain’t cheap. But seriously, can you put a price on something this delightful?
(PS: Several come in adult sizes, too!)
We’ve been buying Pedoodles since before JJ could walk, so I figured it was time to give them their props. I won’t go into too much detail about how they’re made or why they’re awesome for lil’ ones’ feetsies (that’s what links are for, folks). But to sum up they’re sturdy but soft (no Frankenstein shoes, like some of us learned to walk in), eco-friendly, and cute as the dickens!
I learned about them through a deal on Zulilly, but you can always buy direct from Pedoodle. Their sizes run from 0-4 years, and while they do change lines from time-to-time, you can often find older styles on Amazon or Buy.com. Here are a few of my favorite styles — for the boys and the girls…
Oh yeah, and here’s a mini fashion show of JJ and his Pedoodles in action…
And finally, all orders come in these nifty canvas bags (with plastic windows) great for storing the shoes or recycling into a purse or tote to hold those precious action figures, mismatched doll clothes, or grubby handfuls of rocks.
I was going to make this post a DooDad of the Day, but I love everything this company makes so thought it deserved a little bigger shout out.
There was a time I wore ties with relative frequency. Like when I worked in an office and regularly met with clients. But with a home-based studio and the interwebs, there’s just not as much call for Man’s Best Accessory. Even Papa — a fancypants DC attorney — only ties one on for big meetings anymore. So when we wear ties, they really gotta pop.
Yes, Trendy Ties specializes in adorable/handsome/trendy ties for little kids (girls can wear ties, too y’all) but they also make ties for Daddies* and Papas. So… until JJ is old enough to protest (which is kind of already here) I’m starting an Easter/Father’s Day tradition of buying us a set of matching ties. Gag on the cutesiness all you want, I don’t care.
The ties (and bow ties!) come in gorgeous patterns that are colorful enough not to be stuffy, but thankfully not a dinosaur or Spongebob among them. This is some seriously delicious stuff. Take a gander at some of my favorites, poke around their site, and please give them your business. NOTE: these are all hand-made, so if you want ties in time for Easter, you gotta order soon!
I’ve already made our Easter purchase — bonus points to whoever guesses which one!
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*Daddy is a big guy, and thankfully TT makes their adult ties in regular and extra-long!
I got to play full-on SAHD the other day, so took the opportunity to initiate a craft project with JJ. I see all these amazing books, blogs and segments on TV on how to make incredible crafts with your kids and am genuinely intimidated. How will I find the time to come up with ideas? What if JJ’s not into drawing or art or creative stuff? What good will I be to him as a dad?!?
But then I remember he’s still just two, and his favorite things to do still include making messes, touching everything, and destroying stuff. So while he’s limited on how much he can actually create, we’ve got a few more good years of dad/son craft-bonding ahead of us.
The chosen project was to make a birthday card for Papa. Have you ever tried to find a birthday card (or any card for that matter) for a “Papa”? I’ve come across a couple of Father’s Day cards (some of which were for grandfathers) but generally the Papas of the world get the shaft when it comes to cards, books, TV shows, etc. So we had to represent.
I knew I needed to keep it simple for JJ, so it was fun (and challenging) enough to just let him go to town scrawling wildly on colored construction paper with his jumbo Crayons and markers. I then cut them out, punched a bunch of star-shaped holes in them, and strung it up like a mobile. (Bonus: this serves as a fun spelling tool!)
Papa was very pleased, so I’m hoping this will become an annual tradition – with JJ getting more and more involved, and me moving into a more art directorial position. And I guess eventually just the guy who buys the stuff and cleans up.
Like every other child on Earth, JJ finds the most enjoyment not from the expensive “educational” toys we buy him, but the random piece of furniture or household container. Mr. Laundry Basket (shown) has served as a fort, a boat, a wagon, and here, apparently, a TV.
On another subject, note my son’s awesome pink shirt (on sale now at Naartjie, where they refer to the color as “reef”… LAME). Most of the stuff I buy him I would kill to have in my size (okay, maybe not this). And as a gay man and a designer, I don’t have many hang-ups about the whole Pink is for Girls vs. Blue is for Boys issue.
There have been several stories recently on gender identity and kids. But while I like to think of myself as a liberal, open-minded, woman-empowering, proud gay Daddy, I admittedly find pleasure in the sheer boyishness of my son. I called my parents on Father’s Day (mainly to ask them how they hell they lived through raising FOUR boys) and my Mother confirmed my suspicions — JJ is a whole lot rowdier than I was at his age. I was pretty content with some crayons and the Super Friends, whereas JJ is all-outside, all-the-time. I’m enjoying the challenge of raising a kid that may end up pretty different than me. Just as long as he’s okay wearing pink once in a while.
Speaking of crayons, JJ and I took a trip to Michael’s the other day to buy some chalk for that mural I’m supposed to be painting on his wall (hey, at least it’s some progress…) and came across these:
Multicultural Crayons — good for Crayola! It’s been a while since I’ve purchased a box of crayons, so I’m not sure how long this ’round-the-world skin-tone set has been for sale. But the individual colors — black, sepia, peach, apricot, white, tan, mahogany and burnt sienna — have been around a while, mixed in with the general population of colors. I’d like to think non-”Peach” kids would enjoy crayons closer to their skin-tone, and the “Peach” kids would become more well-rounded in their coloring sessions.
I came across a hip ‘lil line of boys’ clothes on my favorite shopping addiction, Zulily.com. This site is dangerous, as it notifies subscribers of sales on unique kids’ items EVERY DAY. Luckily it’s mostly for little girls and moms, but they frequently feature boys’ clothes as well. Some of it is cheesy (Ed Hardy onesies, anyone?*), but a lot of the clothes and toys are quirky, custom-made, and hard-to-find. Crack for this Designer Daddy.
Kartoons Kataloons (the Boys line from parent company Sophie Catalou, designed in Barcelona, HQ in New York) is the best I’ve seen on Zulily in a while. It has the standard boys’ motifs (cars and motorcycles, wild animals) but designed with an actual sense of design — not just loud and bold. Plus there’s an armadillo! And check out the gorgeous color palette. Instead of the usual blues and greens, we’re treated to teal and olive. And they’re mixed together with burgundy and bright orange. Yum.
The sale at Zulily ends June 8, so go check it out inmediatamente.
(*Some of you may know that I did indeed purchase these onesies for JJ. But you have to realize that I had not ever (and still haven’t) seen an episode of The Jersey Shore, and didn’t realize the douchebaggery associated with this brand. I just saw fun tattoo-inspired, days-of-the-week onesies and pounced. Only later did a couple of fashion-forward friends show me the error of my ways. For what it’s worth, they did fit well and lasted a long time…)
We’re coming up on our second Father’s Day, and the expectation is that it will be exponentially better than our first. Last year we had plans to go to Dupont Circle, have a picnic and then stage our own little Gay Family Pride Parade, tooling around the neighborhood showing off our adorable progeny. But JJ got sick, so we ended up at the Montgomery Mall food court for lunch. Papa and I were pretty miserable, but JJ had fun yelling in code to all the other babies there — like all mall food courts, the acoustics are such that every noise is multiplied a thousandfold. And babies love to hear themselves holler…
So in anticipation of this year’s Dad’s Day, I think back on the last year: what’s been the greatest joy, the hardest hardship, and especially – what have I passed onto my son that I can be proud of. I’m not gonna be the Dad that teaches his son how to rebuild the engine of a Camaro (although I can teach him how to drive stick). And while I can show him how to hit or catch or throw a ball, he will probably surpass my skill level before he’s out of diapers. But what I can teach him is to appreciate art. And that starts with his first set of chunky Crayolas.
So here’s a few shots from our first colorin’ session. Enjoy! I know I sure did.
These photos are from a couple of months ago, just so you won’t think I’m a big slacker. And I’ll be sure to post any wall, furniture or dog art that follows.
Everybody and their dog blog has already covered this story. But as someone in the design/advertising field and one of 2 gay fathers of a little boy, I felt it was in too many of my wheelhouses not to toss in my 2 cents.
I assume you know the basics… J. Crew emailed an ad depicting their President/Creative Director playing with her 5 year-old son, who’s wearing neon pink polish on his toenails. Numerous talking heads have decried or defended this image (and PrezMom’s commentary) as either inappropriate or innocent, respectively. One Ablow blowhard even went so far as to suggest mommy save up for the kiddo’s therapy, as she had obviously scarred him (or at least his toes) for life.
I imagine PrezMom knew the ad would incite some discussion, but maybe not coverage from every network news show, comedy/news hybrids, more than a few politicians, and the entire blogosphere. In any case, I give her props for being secure in her son’s choice of nail polish color, especially when it clashes with his preppy J. Crew duds.
But this whole brouhaha brings up a couple of things for me personally. Namely my own childhood and that of my son’s.
I was once a little boy who liked to dress up. Sometimes in mom’s clothes, but more often as a super hero. In either case, some manner of flowing was required (hair, dress, cape). And yep, I turned out gay. But I know plenty of gay men—my husband among them—who never bent their gender, not even a bit. It’s kind of a non-issue for me, seeing as how I’m proud and happy of who I am, sexually and otherwise.
But now that I’m a dad, I think sometimes about the potential ways JJ could be ridiculed. He’s got 2 dads. He’s adopted. He’s got 2, possibly 3 cowlicks in his shaggy, little head. He’s just about to turn 18 months, so I know his teasing days are still a ways off, but I’m feeling like he’s gonna do okay. Because the boy is fearless. He’s already gotten his fair share of bruises and bumps, which never ceases to put knots in my stomach and a lump in my throat. But it’s a thrill for me, who spent most of his childhood inside drawing or watching Super Friends, to think of JJ being exponentially more adventurous than I was. Not to besmirch my boyhood, but I probably missed out on a lot of things due to my fears and insecurities.
So I revel in seeing JJ’s exuberance and never want to quell that, whether it manifests itself in sports, glee club, or toenail polish. I’m so honored to witness it all, hoping I can always allow his true self to shine, and that I can learn a thing or two from him about being fearless.
Just wanted to share a couple of pics of JJ sporting his new cow footy pajamas (made by Sozo, picked out by Papa). He would make the cutest darn Chik-fil-A spokesmodel! If only the company were a little more family-friendly… to families like ours. Their loss!
Maybe Big Gay Ice Cream Truck will book him instead…