ParentingRandom AsidesSkepticism

Some Fathers’ Day Skepticism

Happy Fathers’ Day to all you skeptical daddies. Today is a special super awesome kick ass fun Fathers’ Days because it also happens to be my birthday! (Best Fathers’ Day gift EVER = me)

It’s also my husband’s very first Fathers’ Day. So today I wanted to throw out a little help for him and all the new skeptidads who might need some as they learn how to combine critical thinking with parenting.

Beyond the fold are a few tips and tricks that will help you get through infant and toddler-hood.

Hat tip and thanks to Paradise Driver and Friendly Atheist. These were so funny I nearly wet myself.

Enjoy your Fathers’ Day!


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. Elyse,

    It was very irresponsible of you not to provide a warning about drinking hot liquids before the entry began. Now my monitor is brown and I’ll be smelling coffee all day.

  2. First, Happy Birthday! It’s my birthday too! (It’s also Neil Patrick Harris’ birthday as well.)

    Second, the one about teething: if you’ve got a teething baby, it’s almost as bad as a puppy. Babies will chew on shoes, blankets, table legs, you name it. All the teething rings in the world won’t stop it. This is from personal experience with two daughters.

  3. Wonderful. I’ve known a few parents of babies, after a long night of crying, who sometimes wanted to do the “Don’t/No/Wrong/Bad” options, but thought better of it. :) Thanks for sharing!

  4. I thought I was doing pretty well on all the DO/DON’Ts (I didn’t play chess with my daughter until she was about three).

    Until I got to the last frame.

    I’ll have you know there is absolutely no more satisfying way of breaking up the monotony of a church service than tossing a year-old baby twelve feet into the air. And the baby loves it!

  5. I agree with misterpost. The babies love it. It was the favorite game for all three of my kids well past toddlerhood. They would laugh with utter abandon and delight. The only reason we ever stopped was they got to big and heavy for me to toss into the air. So we moved onto bungee jumping. They would stand on my shoulders while I held their ankles and they would leap off. Scared their paternal grandparents to death.

  6. I will have to talk the Mrs into having another one, it seems I did just about everything wrong last time.

  7. vbalbert:

    Happy birthday to you as well! Today is also the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. (almost as historically significant as Doogie Howser, M.D.)

    Gabrielbrawley and misterpost:

    I’ve gone back and forth as to whether you two are kidding or not.

    If you are: very funny.

    If you are not: please stop throwing your babies. Tossing and swinging are just as dangerous as shaking.

  8. Who knew I shared a birthday with Elyse and the Magna Carta. And don’t forget we also share a birthday with James Belushi. Happy birthdays all around.

  9. ..but what if in the “stimulating baby” frame the tv is showing Mr. Wizard? Surely that can’t be bad!

  10. Some of these had me falling out of my chair. I love the expression on Chess Baby’s face X-D

    @Elyse — I was under the impression that tossing was ok after 6-9 months (when baby is clearly capable of holding up head, sitting up on own, etc). Anything before that, especially before baby can hold his own head up, WOULD be as bad as shaking, but would it be as bad once they’ve got much better muscle control?

  11. I love these.

    My FIL likes to mess with guests’ heads by sitting out on their back deck after dinner with them, enjoying a glass of wine, and when they comment on the lovely view (it’s quite a high deck and has a view of Mt. Jefferson), he delivers the following, completely deadpan:

    “I always told my kids I’d give them a dollar to let me hang them off the back deck by their feet, twenty if I dropped them.”

    There is usually a moment of stunned silence, and then one of the adult children will wait a beat and chime in, “David’s the only one who ever got twenty.”

    I know he’s not joking about the dollar, and I’m only about 99% sure he’s joking about David …

  12. I’m only an uncle but I’ve done that last one. That may be why I’m the favorite uncle (he’s 4 now) and possibly not the favorite brother (I taught him how to open doors, climb on top of his playhouse and work the hose).

  13. Gotta add my skeptical input to those who compare tossing baby to shaking baby:
    [Warning: a lot of math NOT well explained below]
    P=Position of baby relative to floor
    V=Velocity of baby relative to floor
    A=Acceleration of baby
    J=”Jerk” is the change of acceleration with respect to time.
    Any healthy human with neck control (8 months or more for my kids) can safely handle up to 4 G’s of acceleration for a short period of time, say under two seconds. The trick is to not increase the acceleration (jerk) from zero to 4G’s too quickly. On the way up J is a function of the tosser’s power, and I can safely say that while I’m strong enough to chuck a 20-lb child into the air, I’m not powerful enough to go from 0G to more than 4G in the range of motion my body can cause the acceleration.
    I am, however, more than strong enough to create a sudden jerk on the way down — the skeleton can be pretty rigid.
    The way to solve the problem is to decelerate your falling baby with the same force and over the same distance it took to accelerate it on the way up.
    In other words, use a soft catch. Bend your knees, start from the floor, toss baby using legs and arms. The catch starts from 7-8 feet up, legs and arms decelerating falling baby, and ends at the floor as well. Baby’s head position tells you how much acceleration she can handle.
    Baby loves it!

  14. Let me caution dads against throwing their babies in the air if they live in low-ceilinged apartments.

  15. Yeah, um. I tossed my son in the air a lot from the time he was able to hold his head stable (which was pretty early). He loved it and would giggle hysterically. Still does, but I can only manage a few inches now that he’s heavier. And yes, you have to catch with soft hands to reduce the G load. I consider it training for later in life because I need someone who’s willing to go on roller coasters with me (wife hates them).

  16. I wasn’t joking. I didn’t mean newborn babies. They were probaly a year old to 18 months. The two boys are teenagers and my daugther is almost 12 years old so we haven’t done this in years but they loved it and can still remember the bungee jumps. A lot of baby deaths caused by “shaken” baby syndrom were flat out abuse. Usually caused by smashing babies into walls or other solid surfaces. Abuse/muder. Not what I did.

  17. Gabrielbrawley:

    I apologize if I came across as saying you were abusive to your children. I was saying that the same harm can be caused unintentionally from tossing as from shaking.

    For the record, Shaken Baby Syndrome is actually caused by literally shaking the baby and does not usually result in death but rather in injuries that range from learning disabilities and blindness (on the mild end) to severe retardation and comas (in severe cases).

    However, I was wrong about tossing being as dangerous as shaking. The information that I received from my baby’s doctor and other reputable sources do state that swinging and tossing are, while fun, extremely dangerous. But the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome cites studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Association of Medical Examiners stating that playful tossing is not, in fact, a cause of SBS.

    That being said, I still stand by the fact that throwing a baby 12 feet in the air is a terrible idea… even in church. Keep it under 8 feet. :)

  18. That being said, I still stand by the fact that throwing a baby 12 feet in the air is a terrible idea… even in church. Keep it under 8 feet.

    *giggle* Yeah, height limits on flying babies is probably a good idea. :D

    I will say in support of Elyse, my mother had a friend when I was a little girl who was tossing his daughter in the air when she was little, and MISSED. Not completely, he caught her by the leg before she hit, but his catch broke her leg. Obviously that was better than having her hit the ground, but he felt like a total schmuck having this tiny little kid in a leg cast.

    Not that this story ever stopped my dad from throwing us in the air …

  19. To add a little perspective, I’m roughly six feet tall.
    If I limit myself to eight feet, the baby doesn’t leave my hands.
    Let’s call it ten? :)

  20. Oh I meant 8 feet from the point where your arms are fully extended.

    But again, not in apartments unless you are on a balcony with no overhang. :)

  21. I didn’t think you were saying I abused the kids and was never offended in any way. I would guess my kids maxed out at about 2 or 3 feet from my hands and then when I caught them it was like a decelerator. I would catch them and would slow their descent by bending my arms down and bending my knees.

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