Monthly Archives: June 2007

Veggie Booty Recall

Veggie BootyFor those of you who might enjoy this snack like we do, you should know that Robert’s American Gourmet has posted a product recall for all Veggie Booty Products because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Veggie Booty was distributed nationwide and also in Canada through local distributors, internet sales, phone orders, mail orders and retail outlets.

If you bought Veggie Booty and still have the product in your house, the company has requested that you dump it and contact them at 1-800-626-7557 for reimbursement.

Dadventure in the news

Dadventure and fellow Dad blogger Vancouver Dad were featured in an article about Dad bloggers in the Vancouver Province over the weekend.

The reporter, Matthew Ramsey, contacted me last week about the story. One of the things that he told me that was new information to me was the new Stats Can figures that show the number of Canadian fathers taking leaves from work to spend time with their kids has increased from 38 per cent in 2001 to 55 per cent in 2006. As Vancouver Dad points out in his post about it:

But the dads don’t stay home for nearly as long. Two-thirds of fathers returned to work within a month of the arrival of the child. It’s no wonder. While mothers usually took formal maternity leave, the dads tended to use vacation time or unpaid leave rather than paid parental leave.

One thing I am noticing with my circle of friends is the number of parents who are splitting their parental leave benefits. The federal government allows for up to 35 weeks of parental leave for either parent, and I know a few parents who are splitting this time between both parents. Dads may take the final 8-12 weeks and Mom may re-enter the workforce a few months sooner.

It’s still far from the ideal (as outlined in the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Government of Canada’s Child Care Spaces Initiative released in the spring) where both parents could have equal lengths of time off in the first years of their children’s life, but it is a start. And is certainly is a lot better than prior to 2001 when the parental leave benefits were introduced.

My favorite Dad memory

Just ahead of Fathers Day this weekend, I wanted to post a tribute to my Dad. This is one of my favorite memories of my Dad.

The moment happens in the days pre-internet. Days when the fountain of family knowledge wasn’t a computer in the corner but the encyclopedia, vast volumes of information stored in 20+ odd books sold to my parents by some traveling salesman who passed through our small town.

As a 9 year old, I loved those books. I would spend hours flipping through them reading about the most obscure of topics. Jai-Alai what’s that? Coelacanth? Oh that is cool. They opened up the world to me and I contribute my Cliff Clavin Trivial Pursuit skills to the many hours I spent reading our encyclopedias.

In those days, full colour photos had to be printed on special paper, so all the colour photos would tend to be grouped together on special insert pages. One of these special photo inserts was 3 pages of colour photos devoted to classic and significant cars throughout the years.

One winter night, my Dad and I were sitting around the kitchen table and, as usual, I was reading an encyclopedia I had snagged at random from the set. It was the encyclopedia with the car photos. My Dad, being a bit of an old car buff, shuffled over beside me and asked what I was looking at. I showed him the photos. He pointed at one and said, “your Grandpa had this one. It had a push button transmission. Oh, and this car here has suicide doors.”

“What’s a suicide door?”

“A door that opens backwards.”

“What’s this car, Dad?”

And off we went. For the rest of the night, Dad and I sat at the kitchen table, me pointing at photos of cars in the encyclopedia and Dad telling me everything he knew about them.

And that is it. My Dad and me, sitting at the kitchen table talking about cars. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. But as the years have gone by, that memory and the significance of that time has stuck with me. It was my Dad spending time with me, passionately engaged with me.

It’s a moment that illustrates the primary rule of parenting – make time to be with your kids. Nothing we do as parents will have as much impact on our kids than the simple fact that we choose to spend our time with them. It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant. Just be there for them during those seemingly insignificant moments of the day.

I wish I could know what moments my kids will remember from their childhood, but, of course, I can’t. I don’t know what moments they will pick to remember when they are 40 and have kids of their own. But I do hope they will have a vast collection to choose from. And because of that, I hope they too will realize just how important it is to make the time to spend with their kids.

Thanks, Dad. Happy Fathers Day.

Rewarding good is easier than punishing bad

Recently my wife emailed me an article that said preschoolers respond well to charts and stickers as a means of positive reinforcement, so we’ve been giving it a try for the past 2 weeks and it seems to be paying off.

We have set up a simple system where The Girl gets a sticker when she does certain tasks. Full cooperation with her nightly routine (getting in and out of the bath, putting her pj’s on and brushing her teeth) earns her a sticker. Sleeping through the night in her own bed gets a sticker. If she does come down to our bed, crawling in quietly without waking anyone up also gets her a sticker. Fully cooperating with her morning routine (eating breakfast, picking clothes, getting dressed, etc.) also earns a sticker. Once she gets 10 stickers she gets a reward.

So far, we’ve done 2 rewards (a new bed for one of her dolls and a trip to Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone). What we are planning to do for the rewards is write a bunch of them down on pieces of paper and stick them in a jar. Rewards run the gammut from the small like a package of gum or buying a piece of candy out of the vending machine after her swimming lessons, to medium rewards like getting a new book from the bookstore, to large like getting a new toy. To save our pocketbook (and to lower the risk of her expecting a big toy everytime she gets 10 stickers), we have way more small rewards than big. In fact, the buy a new toy is really the only big one. When she gets 10 stickers she can pick one from the jar.

It’s really amazing how much more cooperation we get with a bit of sugar than having to constantly bang our head against the wall and engage in a battle of wills to get the simple routine things done.

Bribery? Maybe so. But for the past 2 weeks we have had peace and cooperation in our house. And we have been laughing a heck of a lot more with each other than we had been in the previous month. And that, for all of us, is the real reward.

Looking for a baby name? Let technology help with Nymbler

Just spent the past few minutes playing with Nymbler, a new website that helps you research baby names.

Type in a name, and Nymbler will tell you a bit about the name, it’s origin, how popular it is, when it was the most popular and give you other suggested names based on names that are also popular in states where your name is popular, as well as toss in some more names that are similar in style and ethnic origin.

For example, my name, Clint, is a boy’s name of English origin that has a country-western accent. Clint was most popular in 1980 and is currently not among the top 1000 U.S. boys’ names.

Hmmm, not sure about wether or not I like the country-western accent bit, but I suppose that when you’ve got the same name as Clint Black and the original duster Clint Eastwood the connection is inevitable.

The site is based on work by Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby. When researching a name, Laura looks at all of the ingredients that make up a name’s distinctive style — not just origins but popularity, history, ethnic, religious and literary associations, even pop-culture references.

The site is definitely U.S. centric and aimed at an American audience as it pulls all of it’s information from US records. It would be great if you could also see name information about other countries. Beside that, Nymbler is a pretty fun little tool to add into the mix when trying to come up with a baby name.

More tech fun for toddlers

While reading an article on when kids are ready for computers at, I came across with some ultra-simple games (activities really) for The Girl.

We’ve played games online before. The CBC Kids site has some good games and activities (check out the art machine. It’s pretty fun to play with, even for us big kids). But overall most game sites for toddlers still require some pretty dexterous mouse moving and The Girl tends to get easily frustrated.

The nice thing about the Kneebouncers site is that all the games are keyboard based – really, they are any key based. Hit any key and something happens. Some of the activities are like a virtual jack-in-the-box, which made The Girl howl. She also liked the music machine. Choose a tune and an instrument and bang away at the keyboard.

The Underwater Adventure game at Kneebouncers was a tad weak, but other than that, The girl and I had a good 15 minutes of fun playing together at the computer. And this time, she was in control of the mouse and keyboard and didn’t get frustrated by the experience.