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TOPIC: Parenthood-Driven Learning

Parenthood-Driven Learning 3 years 5 months ago #1

  • Leighgion
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As many of you know from experience, becoming a parent changes your practical circumstances dramatically. Adapting to that drives the new parent to discover tidbits of practical knowledge, some of it not directly related to child-rearing at all. A couple things I've picked up since the birth of my daughter on two sides of a single topic:

Bluetooth is awesome... if you buy the right thing.

My daughter is an attached baby. She is basically always either attached to her mother, to me or her grandmother. She is also well into her grabby time, so cables are a no-no within her reach.

While my wife is primary caretaker, I am in charge for 2-6 hours each day and the baby sleeps for up to half that time. When your offspring is strapped to your chest and dozing, as a working parent you look for ways to improve your multitasking power.

I bought myself a pair of Bluetooth sport headphones which turned out to be great for everything except... wearing while carrying the baby. Wireless or no, they still had a backband for my little one to grab. The logical next step was a more traditional, mono headset.

Long story short, my natural mistrust of tech I haven't owned saved me a wasted purchase. After lots of googling on my phone in the store, I learned that a 10€ cheapie Bluetooth headset just wasn't going to do for my purposes; such a unit would do phone calls and internet telephony, but lacks support for the A2DP protocol, which is a fancy way of saying "no music, podcasts, or anything else where the sound is a continuous stream."

I settled on a slightly-better-than-entry-level Plantronics Marque 2 that supports A2DP, claims a 7-hour battery life and tucks very neatly into one ear. It's not home cinema, but it allows me to listen to podcasts with effectively no danger of a suddenly wakeful baby seizing it and eating it.

Cable is still useful in the 21st century.

Your baby is sleeping peacefully at 10:00 PM. Both you and your other half want to watch something, but don't want to wake the baby up. Turning the volume down won't do, because in quiet enough for baby is too quiet to hear anything. What to do?

The answer is NOT wireless headphones. At least not when you're dealing with two adults and a budget. Weeks of research taught me that Bluetooth is no help because it's meant only to use one audio device at a time, Apple Airplay is too demanding to properly maintain A/V synch (its meant just for music) and even the RF headphone systems meant for TVs curiously lack any dispensation for two pairs on the same frequency. The only possible, and I emphasize possible solutions were getting expensive with no guarantee of success.

The answer was 3.5mm headphone extender cables. I bought two pairs of 5m (16.4') cables, one set for the bedroom where my laptop is the video player and one for the living room where the TV is. Add a headphone splitter and one more 3m (9.8') extender cable for flexibility of seating arrangement and we were set. Have not bothered to use anything other than the Apple earphones that came with our phones. Has worked out great. We've watched everything from sitcoms to "Interstellar" like this with the baby slumbering peacefully away.

Total cost: ~20€

What're some of your stories of oddball practical knowledge or solutions that grew out of being a parent?
Last Edit: 3 years 5 months ago by Leighgion.
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Parenthood-Driven Learning 3 years 5 months ago #2

  • DamnRedneck
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Lee , I wish I had more to offer but Tech was no big thing when my boys were babies and by the time the girl came along we were older and just kinda winged it.
I will say that side 2 of the Grateful Dead's American Beauty album had a very calming effect on the oldest but about the time he turned 1 he started to pull the knobs off my stereo and tried to eat them. I had to pack up the stereo and to this day haven't set it back up.
I think I mentioned already that Osh Kosh coveralls are great because you can pick the kid up by the back straps and carry them around like a 12 pack. This came in handy with 2 boys 16 months apart.
Some time around when the kids turn 2 your home will be invaded by magic pixie elves who are responsible for all bad things that happen like crayon murals on the living room wall or the toilet backing up because several small action figures were unable to swim against the swirling vortex or the PBJ sandwich in the VHS player.

It really sounds like you guys are doing great as parents. The #1 thing I learned is spend as much time as you can with the kid because one day you will wake up and she will be all grown up!
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Parenthood-Driven Learning 3 years 5 months ago #3

  • Friendly Photon
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One bit of advice: don't look for permanent solutions to VERY temporary problems. Just deal. I spent so much time coming up with great solutions to problems that raising a baby daughter presented. And my solutions were usually great and worked very well. And were all useless within about 6 months or less, when new problems presented themselves and the old ones became irrelevant.

When raising a new child, NOTHING is the new normal. Everything evolves constantly. It's often more efficient to just put up with the drawbacks for a few months than it is to waste time and money "solving" the issues.
Photons are your friends! :-)
Last Edit: 3 years 5 months ago by Friendly Photon.
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Parenthood-Driven Learning 3 years 5 months ago #4

  • J.Scott
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Kids can be a pain! Forget the details and concentrate on the basics; the fine details will work themselves out. They will at times shock and amaze you with what they do and say. Technology needs to take a back seat to their immediate needs. I know Frank and Tiffany have a cool camera that 'spies' on their daughter while in her room, but tiptoeing down the hall and sneaking a peak through the door can be a reasonable and acceptable alternative. Unless she/he is screaming blue murder, they are fine. Just be there when they need you, make sure they know you love and care deeply for them and the rest will work itself out. Good luck chum!
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Parenthood-Driven Learning 3 years 4 months ago #5

  • Leighgion
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Thanks for the stories, folks.

I wasn't so much fishing for hints as looking for funny anecdotes.

DR, I've created a playlist for calming my daughter down. It was trial and error with me mostly trying to select music I liked, but that was mellower. So far, she favors Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel, Fleetwood Mac and has started to take to Tina Turner.

The whole audio cable thing might sound shallower than it really is. Watching a little TV or movies is very important to my wife so she can unwind a little, so it was more of a priority than you might think. So far, so good. Running wires has made the previously impossible merely somewhat inconvenient.
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Parenthood-Driven Learning 3 years 4 months ago #6

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An adequate introduction to music is vitally important. You've mostly got her started on the right path.
Photons are your friends! :-)
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