kids fashion

Captionpalooza 2011: photo 5

June 26, 2011 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

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.

Captionpalooza 2011: photo 5

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.

Color me PC

June 6, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

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.

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DD digs Kartoons Kataloons

June 5, 2011 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

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…)

The lost art of daddyhood

June 3, 2011 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

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.

Hmm, this is interesting...

...and kinda waxy...

I LOVE COLORING!!!

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.

Pink toenails = fearlessness

April 18, 2011 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

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.

JJ’s new cow jammers

March 31, 2011 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

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…

A stampede of one

DooDad of the Day: Devil Baby!

March 4, 2011 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

Designer Daddy and Papa were recently on a much-needed vacation (hence the cricket noises in blog land) and picked up this little devil of a hat for JJ. It’s super-soft chenille, and so cute it’s downright evil. Looks like we have his Easter outfit picked out!

JJ's not afraid to rock multiple stripe patterns

Yes, that's a little tail on the back.

BTW, I bought it off a street vendor in Miami, but you can buy it online here.

Potty Breaks: commercials about diapers

January 26, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Sorry for the long span between posts, but I’ve had some form of child-borne illness off-and-on for the last week. So in honor of that, here are a bunch of ads about poop.

Luvs Leakguards
I first watched this online and thought, “I can see why they wouldn’t put this on TV.” Needless to say I was unpleasantly surprised to see it on air two days later. And pretty much every day since. Dumb, gross, and poorly animated. Okay, I admit “Poop! There it is!” is kinda funny.

Huggies Little Movers Jeans Diaper
I saw the print ad first, and was — ashamed to say — intrigued. I even checked my mental calendar to see if there were any western-themed parties we’d be taking JJ to that would justify buying these things. “The coolest you’ll look pooping your pants.” Awesome tag. The TV spot, however, takes the concept from humorous and mildly tacky to just plain weird. If my child went “poo in blue” I’d be calling the pediatrician.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ0M9CBEkw0

Huggies Little Movers: Enjoy the Ride
These two ads feature Dad in charge of doody duty, so of course I’m a fan. Okay, so he’s kind of out of control in both cases. But I thought they good-naturedly showed Pops struggling, while accurately capturing the joys and challenges of fatherhood. “Enjoy the Ride” — another great Huggies tag line.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDixmUa-qSc

Pampers in the Women’s Lib 70s…
And finally, in honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, here’s an oldie but a goodie — Dad and his buddy watching the big game and chatting about diapers! Props to Pampers for not having the fathers defer to their wives as the main diaper-changers. But watch out Papa! You almost clocked baby girl with that over-the-shoulder pass!

DD digs Joah Love

January 19, 2011 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

Okay, so the clothes here are a little darker/more monochromatic than I normally like, and some of the photography wanders precariously close into Unhappy Hipsters territory…

But what I dig is the simplicity and sophistication of the clothes. And that for the most part, these mini-urbanites look like they’re having fun. And that the site’s splash page plays The Bird and The Bee’s cover of Herman’s Hermit’s “I’m Into Something Good.” A good soundtrack goes a long way to setting the right mood, and anything less peppy would have pushed the vibe in a too-adult direction.

Check out the full line at Joah Love’s site, or take advantage of some great deals (cuz these are not cheap clothes) at Zulily.com, until January 24.

The kid is all right

January 17, 2011 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

We’re so proud of our little JJ for picking up a Golden Globe Sunday night!

But seriously (okay, not really) shouldn’t we get some kind of royalties for Annette’s ‘do, which was obviously inspired by our lax parenting/grooming skills?

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