7 Tips On How To Start A Baby Blog

May 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm , by 

A year and a half.  It was a year ago yesterday that The Dadabase officially premiered on Parents.com with “Welcome To The Dadabase.” Today, I want to share some advice with any mom or dad out there who is considering, or at least curious about, starting their very own mommy or daddy blog. If you’re wanting to start blogging about your kid mainly just to share with friends and family, then I simply recommend going to WordPress.com and get to typin’. That’s all the advice you need from me. But if you are like I was back in April 2010, recently having found out I was going to be a parent and wanting to be the best darn baby blogger I could be with hopes of “going pro,” then this article is perfect for you. Here are my top 7 tips on how to start a baby blog: 1. Be both personal and international. You want to engage two different types of necessary readers:Friendly Followers-family and friends who read your stuff because they love you and your cute kid. And Cosmic Crashers– people who don’t care who you are but want to learn about some buzzing new topic you’re covering in the world of parenting. 2. Be different. Before I started my blog, I was determined to find my “schtick.” I wanted to be the first ever daddy blogger who documented his thoughts from the moment he went public with the pregnancy, on a weekly basis. Even now, I don’t know of any other dad who has done this. You can go back for over two years and find between one and seven blog posts each week about my son and my thoughts as a dad. What’s your schtick? 3. Be willing to be wrong. I am constantly wrong when it comes to my opinions and viewpoints regarding all those polarizing, controversial parenting topics from circumcision to raising a vegetarian child. Not only am I wrong at least half the time, I’m totally cool with it. I don’t mind being crucified one day and praised the next. I am both the good and the bad guy. 4. Be consistent. Can you commit to writing at least one blog post per week? If not, stop reading now because this isn’t for you. Just like with advertising, your work needs to be omnipresent. And just like with the news, it needs to be fresh. 5. Be egotistical. Speak with authority. Assume your story is interesting, then prove it. Ever heard of what’s called “the blogger’s ego?” Well, I depend on it. 6. Be weird. In the midst of sharing the chronologically predictable advancements your child experiences each week, make each event special by pointing out the strangest aspect about your kid learning to eat solid foods or learning to walk. “Quirky” sells. 7. Be named well. You have to come up with a really cool name for your blog; one that represents you well. Consider your kid’s name or your last name or something people won’t be able to forget. Good luck and may the force be with you.

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dad from day one: Insert Foot in Mouth

Week 25 (5 months).

If you are a regular reader of my “daddy blog”, then you know my writing style well enough to expect this to be a post about Jack being able to literally put his foot in his mouth- and by the end I will make mention that as he gets older he will metaphorically put his foot in his mouth by not knowing when to stop talking- as often is the case with guys.  So surely I will need to throw in a reference to John Mayer’s song, “My Stupid Mouth.”  But that would be too predictable.  So no metaphors this time around- this entry is simply about my son discovering his toes and sucking on them.  No “big picture” ideas today.

Jack has discovered his feet.  I don’t know if he realizes they are his feet, though. Like the way a dog chases its tail, providing hilarious entertainment for spectators, so is Jack’s love/hate relationship with his feet.  I’m assuming that he thinks his toes are little grub worms, and forgetting that the only “solid food” he is eating right now is crushed up oatmeal and bananas, not grub worms, he decides to attack his toes when they are not looking.  And might I add, he gets ’em every time!

His slobber is noticeably thick this days, so each time he bites his toes with his toothless gums, the end result somehow reminds me of every alien sci-fi movie I’ve never seen, yet still recognize the image for.  But aside from the humor of watching Jack sneak up and attack his toes, and aside from the grossness of it, is the surprising element of it: A baby, with the body proportions of the Michelin Man, is limber enough to easily stick  his foot to his mouth anytime he wants.

I completely admit that in the middle of typing that last sentence, I had to stick my foot to my mouth to see if I could do it too.  I can.  But not as effortless as Jack.

Bonus: Last week I was interviewed and quoted in a Mother’s Day article by Megan Mattes, on Parents.com.  Click here to see it.

dad from day one: After the Storms Have Cleared

Week 24 (5 months).

Jack travels well.  And that makes life a lot easier for my wife and I.  He really didn’t mind camping out two nights without power, then traveling an hour to stay in Georgia for two nights to stay in a hotel suite with us along with his grandparents, aunt, and uncle.  For a couple of days, we lived amongst people who were instantly made homeless by last week’s tornados, like Pastor Sidney Ford, featured here in this story by ABC.  He was such a blessing to us and it was an honor to meet him.

For us, life is picking back up to its state of normalcy.  Our power came back on Sunday afternoon, and everyone in my family was able to return to work on Monday.  My employer (who is also my dad’s employer as well) is so gracious to us that they are paying our wages for last Thursday and Friday, when no one could come to work because the entire city was without power.  I am constantly aware of how blessed (by grace) and spared (by mercy) I am.

I’m not convinced I’m the kind of person who has to be reminded by a tragic event just how fortunate I am- who gets so caught up in the “hustle and bustle” of life that they “can’t see the forest for the trees.”  Because I make it one of my daily personal goals not to become distracted by life- by the chaos and unsettledness and not-knowingness that each day brings.  I’m not saying that’s easy.  Something life has taught me is that typically when I am the least happiest, it’s often because I am focusing too negatively inward and not enough positively outward.  My own mind and attitude are fortunately and unfortunately much stronger and influential than I often realize and give them credit for.

But Jack doesn’t have to worry about that kind of stuff yet.  As long as he’s fed, played with, has his diapers changed, and has assistance falling asleep, he’s just happy to be here.  He thinks everyday is a celebration just to be alive.  And I believe that is one of the many reasons that a baby brings so much joy to us adults.  Babies teach us so much without speaking any intelligible words.

Jack's new "puppy dog" face

dad from day one: Jack Meets Max the Cockapoo (AKA “Falkor the Luck Dragon” from The Neverending Story)

Week 20 (4 months).

Fun Word of the Day-

Cockapoo: A  cross breed dog, bred for the first time in the United States, by crossing an American Cocker Spaniel or English Cocker Spaniel and a poodle (in most cases the miniature poodle or toy poodle), or by breeding cockapoo to cockapoo.  (Thanks Wikipedia!)

I have always been curious about the day Jack would finally meet his first dog. Up until this point, Jack has been introduced to several “dog like” creatures, including stuffed animal dolls of E.T. and Gizmo, but never an actual living canine.  We spent the past weekend with some good friends in Nashville who happen to own the coolest dog I have ever met.  Admittedly, I’m not a dog person.

But Max the Cockapoo is the equivalent of Falkor the Luck Dragon (that flying dog thing from The Neverending Story).  And that is a very good thing.  In fact, one of life’s biggest disappointments for me, as a kid in the ’80’s, was accepting the fact that there truly is no such thing as Luck Dragons.  Max the Cockapoo doesn’t fly through the air, but he is one of the few dogs I have met who truly accepts me as I am and who doesn’t smell bad.  He is one chillaxed dog. Therefore, he is totally my speed.

Naturally I had envisioned Jack and Max instantly becoming big buddies, since in essence, Max is the dog equivalent of Jack.  I imagined Jack smiling real big whenever Max would walk up to him and I even expected Max and Jack to take naps together.  But this bromance didn’t unfold that way, in reality.  It’s not that they didn’t get along.  It’s that Jack didn’t realize that Max was a living dog.  Instead, I believe, Jack thought Max was the shag carpet rug he’s used to lying down on in our living room at home.  To Jack, Max was simply a moving shag carpet rug.

But being the classy dog he is, Max didn’t take it personally.  However, Max still did his dogly duty of looking after Jack.  When Jack would cry, Max would rush over and sniff him.  Of course, we humans fed and changed Jack’s diapers accordingly, but Max’s habit of sniffing Jack was his way of treating him like the youngest pup in the litter.  Even when Jack pulled Max’s face fur, Max was cool about it.

It was by observing Jack and Max together that I taught myself that dogs don’t actually smell “bad things”.  Instead, every smell is simply just another interesting smell.  So the couple of times that Jack passed gas and Max hurried to come smell it, Max was simply getting a different form of a doggie treat.  At least Jack could give Max that much.  And it made great entertainment for us humans to watch.

For now, Max the Cockapoo is a white shag carpet in Jack’s eyes.  But one day, Jack will understand the difference between humans, rugs, and dogs.  And this inevitable friendship will occur.  Jack will befriend the canine equivalent of himself and the two of them will be Joe Cool buddies, at last.

dad from day one: My Real Life Jack in the Box

Week 19 (4 months).

I often forget just how many references can be made to the name “Jack”.  When I refer to my wife and son in conversation and say “Jack and Jill…”, it’s simply me talking about my family.  But I have to remind myself that the first thing most people will think of when they hear “Jack and Jill” is the nursery rhyme.  So this week when I posted two videos of Jack’s first car, a Huggies box, and titled them “Baby Box” and “Baby Box 2”, I suppose it was a bit ironic.  Because the obvious phrase to include in the name of the videos should have been “Jack in the Box”.  I overlooked the most obvious reference.

Everyone is familiar with the idea of a young child being more excited about the box that a gift came in than the gift itself.  Jack’s diaper box is no different.  If it were up to him, he would just go around naked all the time.  And if it weren’t for that whole “not potty trained yet” thing, I’d be okay with it.  Earlier this week I saw him eyeing the empty Huggies box, ready for garbage take-out.  So I dropped him it, turned on the engine, and as expected, he loved his new ride.

When it comes to an actual Jack in the Box, though, he’s not excited in any way. Because when the clown (in our case, it’s a sock monkey) pops out of the box, it doesn’t scare or surprise him.  Instead, the look on Jack’s face is more like “What, am I supposed to be impressed”?  He’d rather have a Huggies box.

dad from day one: Extreme Makeover, Baby Edition (Jack’s First Haircut)

Week 19 (4 months).

I am conspicuously clued in to the notion that maybe you’re supposed to wait until your child is nearly a year old before they get their first haircut.  I feel like there’s this unspoken rule that you’re expected to be all sentimental and reverent about it because this means that the hair your baby was born with will be removed from them and placed in a little envelope.  But if that is the rule, I am completely comfortable in breaking it.  Because last night, I got out my clippers and cleaned up the Little Guy.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact I got my hair cut short over the weekend in order to mentally/conceptually prepare for my new job which started this week. Or maybe it was the fact that I just couldn’t shake the image of Gollum from Lord of the Rings- the way his stringy hair grew out the side of his head over his ears. Either way, I felt it was my fatherly duty to give Jack his first haircut.  So I did.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to grasp the concept that Jack may somehow be a redhead, as his hair truly appeared to be a dark reddish color in certain lights. And more recently, I realized it was true: Jack was a redhead, but only for about two weeks.  Because it’s completely obvious now, that Jack’s real hair color is not black (like he was born with) or red (as it was for two weeks), but instead (drum roll please…), Jack is officially…

BLONDE!

And I don’t mean really light brown, or dirty blonde, or technically blonde, I mean 100% whitish-blonde.  Like Billy Idol.  The “peroxide look.”

I am tempted right now to go on about the statistical miracle that is, given Jack’s family tree, but I am saving that for another entry when he turns 6 months old (in just a few weeks), after I know for sure what color his eyes will officially be.

Granted, until last night, Jack had his original black hair laying on top of his blond hair and it looked like a baby toupee.  While I could have just given Jack a buzz cut, making his hair only half an inch, the general consensus within the family audience was to leave it long enough to style as a mohawk.  So that means now, I have a blonde haired son with black tips.  He’s entering his emo/punk stage a little early.

After his first haircut ever, heeeeere’s Blondie…

dad from day one: Our First Professional Family Portrait Session

Week 18 (4 months).

It’s funny how despite the hundreds of pictures we have taken of Jack each month since he was born in November, there are hardly any that include him with my wife and I together; in other words, no family portraits.  On top of the practicality issue, there’s also the fact that we are very particulate about our pictures not looking cheesy.  The best photographer in the world is Joe Hendricks Photography, who did our “pregnancy pics” which are featured in virtually every episode of Season One of “dad from day one” (1-36).  He also took the picture of Jack asleep on Thanksgiving Day, the one that you see featured at the top of this website as my banner.  Joe Hendricks is always my first choice.

However, I will also give “mad props” (that’s my salute to the year 2003) to JC Penney.  They have this program called “Portrait Perks” and it is definitely worth being a part of.  My wife took Jack to get his pictures taken back in December for our Christmas cards/birth announcements and we were very pleased with the results. Then over this past weekend we went back to JC Penney to get our first professional family portraits taken and to use our soon-to-expire $50 store credit we earned from our “Portrait Perks” program.  We were in and out in about an hour and 15 minutes, and after using our $50 credit, our bill was only $4.95.

Granted, we only bought about five of the 30 shots and we don’t own the copyrights to the pictures, but still I can legally share them with you today if you click on the link at the very end of this entry.  I should note that neither Joe Hendricks or JC Penney is paying me to say good things about them.  It’s just that I’m a firm believer that when someone does something right, you should say something.  Because sometimes it’s too easy to listen to negativity.  I don’t want to add to the noise.

If you’ve been keeping up with the last two “special episodes” of  “dad from day one”, you know that Monday, March 27th is the long awaited for, miraculously conceived big day, when I start my new job.  Thank God!  Infinite times!  For me, these family portraits I am sharing with you today represent the happy ending to nearly four dramatic months and the winter season, as well as the new beginning (symbolized by the color green) of our life here in Alabama.  A life that, thanks to God’s miraculous providence and not some major coincidence, is feeling pretty good right about now.

Okay, click here to see the pictures I’m referring to.