Stuff Every Dad Should Know: A Book Review
I got into reading books from Quirk publishing beginning last year when I picked up Dirty Jokes Every Man Should Know. Then I read just plain Jokes Every Man Should Know. Of course, like many people, I had also read the Worst Case Scenario series, including the one for kids, to my kids. These are short, quirky books (if not short then definitely quirky) which are suitable as stocking stuffers (In fact, I think many of them are small and rectangular for that very reason – not exactly high literature but pretty dang entertaining anyway). Quirk also puts out practical books. I had the pleasure of reviewing Recipes Every Man Should Know last year, and found its contents quite useful. Now, the people of Quirk have sent me Stuff Every Dad Should Know for my review. Here it goes.
Stuff Every Dad Should Know:
So here I am with this book, by Brett Cohen, entitled Stuff Every Dad Should Know which Quirk has sent me for my review. My two sons are 9 and 7. Thus, some of this book, written for newer fathers, I have already lived through. However, not to worry because that means I can tell you if this guy is right (right in my humble opinion). Well, it turns out that he is right – or at least not wrong. For instance, changing a diaper isn’t all that hard to do, but it is pretty gross. His useful bit of practical advice is to perform the operation on a mat on the floor rather than on a changing table. I agree with him. Why spend money on a changing table (provided your knees and back are up to making the trip to the carpet) if it’s safer and easier to maneuver on the floor. Good advice.
Some More Snippets of Advice:
Tips for Caring for your Wife or Partner (I like how he adds “Partner” – it’s thoughtful phrasing): One piece of advice he gives on the subject is to not allow your partner to get stuck in a routine. New parents can easily fall into a mind-numbingly boring and/or stressful daily routine. He advises booting your partner out of the house on a regular basis for recharging. A trip to the gym, a manicure, a movie with friends, etc… . Sage advice.
Baby Clothes Dos and Don’ts: Mr. Cohen spends some time extolling the virtues of layering clothes for weather and over diapers to help contain leaks. What he says, though, that I like the most is to consider clothing or accessories that will help passersby to identify the gender of your baby. He points out color coding based on sex might not be entirely PC but that there is no need to go overboard (a small clue will do) and it does help people who want to use the right pronoun.
How to Teach your Kid to Ride a Bike: Mr. Cohen advises a helmet and pads. This is where I think he isn’t wrong, but that he’s going overboard. Just a helmet is fine in my opinion. A few well earned bumps and scrapes can do as much to teach what not to do as wearing pads does to hide those mistakes.
How to Photograph your Children: Don’t wait for the perfect shot! This is perfect advice! How many times have you been practically driven crazy trying to get your kid to pose for a picture? Myself? Many times. The best solution is, with digital storage, is to take lots of pictures from every angle and eventually you’ll be sure to get one that is acceptable. The last thing a parent wants is to fight for a picture then be unable to get it because everyone becomes grouchy and unphotogenic during the process. Besides, unscripted pictures are usually better anyway.
The Bottom Line:
You aren’t going to agree with every bit of advice in this book, but I suspect you’ll think most of them are spot on. It makes for a great gift. I thought at first that it might be an attempt at silly condescension considering the title and the modern trend of treating fathers like big, hairy, stupid Neanderthals. That isn’t the case at all. It is a well considered, humorous, witty, occasionally tongue in cheek, abbreviated guidebook to fatherhood.