Wednesday, October 30, 2013

On Dogs and Men

The day after our son was born, I took the opportunity to go home to get some stuff for my wife back at the hospital, to rest a little, and to have a chat with my dogs.

"I want you to know," I said, "that nothing is going to change." I pat Buddy's head. He seemed to know something was happening. I continued: "Really. Nothing is going to change. We're going to love you when we bring Liam here just as much we love the two of you now, and just as much as we always have. Everything is going to be exactly the same!"

And I didn't just say that. I actually thought I was telling the truth. It was important for me to be truthful with my dogs, as funny as it sounds now, so I said what I said, not realizing everything was about to change.

What is love? Is it just about feeling needed? Our dogs had been the focus of our lives for years, so what happened there, the moment our baby came home? Did everything change because we had a baby who needed us to survive, and dogs that just needed a cup of food and an opened door to the fenced-in yard?

I know they needed more than that. They needed us. But after we brought our son home, we weren't there for them anymore.

Buddy and Gingee were Pit Bulls who were found tied to trees in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. They were fighting dogs that weren't needed anymore. Buddy was big and muscular. He had a lot of bruises on his head, which made us believe he was the bait that dog fighters were using to train other dogs. He was an amazing and beautiful dog, but we could never trust him 100%, and we never took our chances.

Gingee was smaller. She was probably a pure Pit Bull as well, but since she was a little smaller than average, the dog fighters got rid of her too, a year later. And that's how Buddy and Gingee became siblings.

We had a roommate when we lived in Brooklyn, and the dogs were his, but after his drug habit got out of control, we took over. I told him he would never see his dogs again, and he said, "Oh, really?"

He never saw the dogs again.

Buddy died nearly 3 years ago. He was 17, and for a year, he didn't go down the stairs to the backyard, and barely did anything other than lie on his bed. It was hard to see this giant, muscular beast getting old. Even though he no longer slept in our bed, even though he wasn't allowed to come to our room or to the kids' rooms anymore, and even though everything changed since we had kids, he was family, and when a family member is old, you just deal with it. You clean after him. You pat his head when you come home, and you watch his happy tongue come out for a second, before he goes back to sleep.

But eventually we made the call. He hated going to the vet, so we decided to get a vet to come to us. The name of the service is Peaceful Passage, and it's basically a small Orthodox Jewish woman, coming to the house, giving your dog one shot to make it sleepy, and another one a few minutes later, when it's asleep. And it's done.

We were patting Buddy while our kids were asleep. His life was ending. For a second there he looked like a puppy.

"He passed," the woman said.

That was nearly 3 years ago. On Sunday, I went to the website again and filled out a form. In the "Reason" section, I wrote that Gingee was 18 years old. She was blind and deaf. She could barely go down the stairs. She had a giant tumor on her back, and another one on her leg. It was her time.

Three years earlier, when the vet came for Buddy, we asked her if she had ever been called into a house to give a lethal shot to a healthy dog that didn't need it.

"The dogs are old and sick in 99% of the cases," she said.

But of course, now that it was Gingee's turn, we felt like we were the 1% who were killing their dogs because they wanted to be more comfortable.

And why not have a dog-hair-free house? Why not live in a house without dog pee in the kitchen? Why not be able to take a vacation without thinking about dog-related logistics? Did our betrayal come to this? Our betrayal that started the day we brought our son home, which relegated our dogs to a closed section of the house--did it now come to its logical conclusion: murder?

We didn't know until the very end if we were making the call for us or for Gingee.

I don't think anyone can ever know for sure. We can just live with our decision.

When the vet showed up on Monday night, though, she immediately found more tumors and very little blood circulation on her legs. Basically, every step was painful. And now, this once proud dog, who was blind, deaf, barely walking, and devastated by cancer, was about to stop suffering. Her pain was almost over, and all she needed at the end of her life was us, patting her, as if nothing happened, as if we'd never left her side.

And as she was giving in to the end of her suffering, we knew we did the right thing.

"She passed."

In her last moments, when her breathing got faster, and then slower, Gingee was no longer an old and sad dog. Just like Buddy transformed into a puppy in his last moments, I could see Gingee as our Brooklyn dog, running around in circles, happily jumping at anyone and anything. And I could see us, young and happy, living our wild years with her.

On those last few minutes, she was our constant. She was our Brooklyn wild years, and she was our Silver Spring. She was there when we were partying, and she was there when we were struggling.

And she was our Baltimore years. She was there when we got back on our feet. She was there when we started a family. She was there when friends came into our lives and she was there when friends left us. She was there when Buddy died. She was there to welcome us from the hospital, and from work, and from school... At first, jumping happily, and by the end, barely opening her eyes. But she was there. Our constant. And now there's a void.

Nothing will fill that void. There will not be another dog. I can't imagine going through that again. I love dogs, and I will always defend the reputation of Pit Bulls as the most loyal and loving creatures on Earth, but I can't do this again. I can't watch dogs get old again. I can't.

I was actually scared of dogs since I was a kid, when an off-leash puppy chased me around the neighborhood. Our roommate in Brooklyn had to cage Buddy and Gingee when he was at work, because I was afraid they were going to bite me.

One day, in an attempt to do a better job training his dogs, he decided to take them for a walk individually. He took Buddy first, and since Gingee was relatively small, I said she didn't have to be caged. When they left, she was confused, since her owner and her brother weren't there, so she stood next to me and cried.

"He'll be back soon," I said. That was the first time I talked to a dog. It made sense.

She continued to cry, so eventually I started patting her head.

She kept on crying, so I improvised, and started patting her under her chin.

And then, all of a sudden, she stopped crying.

Her tongue came out.
Her eyes closed.
Her tail was wagging.
And I was in love.

Monday, October 28, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood #4: Awesome Dads and Awesome Kids

This is the fourth newsletter/week-in-fatherhood post, and I feel like I'm getting the hang of it. It's great to be able to do my part in raising the profile of dads from our Dad Bloggers group, and of involved fatherhood in general. As usual, if you like this post, consider subscribing to the newsletter, to make sure you don't miss the weekly summary of fatherhood-related news and views.

Awesome Dads

Found this one on Reddit. The title was "I had enough of him playing angry birds, so we went outside to play angry birds"

Awesome Kids

This picture is from the Ask Your Dad Blog Facebook page. Here's the description:

Me: Duchess, what do you want to be for Halloween?

Duchess: Uhm... Princess Batman!

And then we made it so...

Nailed it!


Carter from Dadscribe collected the informed(?) opinions of dads from our Dad Bloggers Group, asking who will win the World Series. As Carter describes this post, it's "a peek into the psyche of the 21st century dad." (Who Will Win the World Series? Let’s Ask Dad) Posts

In the last week, I wrote about the people who want to have kids but feel like they shouldn't, because they have been led to believe in parenting rules. I tried to make them feel parenting might be for them after all. (The Case for Having Kids)

Also last week, I talked about politics--particularly about the 7 stages of grief I will feel if my kids end up on the wrong side of politics. (Father Son Politics)

BloggerFather--Old Post Revival

On this post from earlier in 2013, I wrote the shocking truth: Dads search for balance too. After an article on Huffington Post predicted that moms-in-search-of-balance stories would dominate parenting issues in 2013, while largely ignoring dads, I thought it was important to say dads have the same problems mothers face when it comes to finding balance. Stories like the one on Huffington Post show why it's so important to have a platform where fatherhood is the main issue, rather than being relegated into a sidenote. (Breaking News: Dads Search for Balance Too)

Facebook Updates


A few blogging dads have joined forces on a big giveaway for 6 new Crayola Create 2 Destroy sets. You can find out about the giveaway on any participating blog, or just click on the image to go to Daddy's in Charge post and enter the giveaway. Good luck!

Judgmental Parenting

Found this picture on the HowToBeADad Facebook page (and they found it on the Toothpaste for Dinner page)

And Non-Judgmental Kids

This one is from the always amazing Lunarbaboon


The Movember posts are coming! The Movember posts are coming!

If you're interested, my own page is here. I hope you can donate to Movember campaign to help raise awareness of men's health and to fund research. I'm part of a team with other Dad Bloggers, and a few of us will be having a public Google+ Hangout on Monday the 28th at 10pm EST. Hope you can make it. Details on the picture below (click the picture to watch the hangout).


John from Daddy's in Charge? left home for a few days, and took a little piece of home with him


Also, last week, like many weeks before it, was NOT the date Marty McFly ended up in the future. Hopefully, this diagram by the always helpful Chris from Daddy Doctrines will help us all for a while.


A few fatherhood-related videos went viral last week. In this one, a kid is very excited about his first bow-ner:

This dad reacts to his son getting a C in math:

This video of a dad imitating his daughter's meltdown also became viral this week. Some of it is because parents are judgmental, and feel the need to argue about whether the dad was shaming his daughter by imitating her. Because they're perfect parents, one must assume.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Father Son Politics

Carl Sciortino ad

I will love my kids no matter what. At least I like to believe unconditional love is real, you know? Sure, I'll be mindful of little signals here and there, and if I see them deviate, I will try to direct the kids back to the proper path they have been taught to follow, but if… if the unconscionable happens and my kids turn out to be… I can't even bring myself to write it… IF THEY TURN OUT TO BE REPUBLICANS--

I will still love them.

First, I will be shocked.

Then: denial. My kids cannot be Republicans! It's a phase. There's a way back!

Then: anger. They're just doing it to get to me!

Then: bargaining. Maybe I'll go to your political event if you go to mine?

Then there will be guilt. Maybe I did something wrong? If I had only spent more time with them, they would have been Liberal activists by now. I pushed them to the dark side!!! What have I done???

And in the end… acceptance. And hopefully, unconditional love.

My dad is a right-winger (in Israel), and maybe he's disappointed with me going all the way to the other side. But truth is, I grew up watching him question the media and politicians, and even though we ended up on different sides of politics, it's his guidance that has made me question the so-called truisms of the world.

He tried to change me, probably hoping I was just going through a phase, but in the end, acceptance. And maybe even respect. Sure, some of my dad's opinions make me want to tear my remaining hair out, and the same is probably true for him, but as long as we don't tear each other's hair out, that's fine.

Here's a hilarious politics ad from Carl Sciortino, Jr., who recently ran for Congress in Massachusetts (he didn't win). In the ad, Carl is "coming out" to his Tea Party dad. For the second time in his life:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Case for Having Kids

Some couples without kids refer to themselves as "child-free." If this applies to you, I assume you've made up your mind not to have kids, so you don't need fake, condescending sympathy from me, and you don't need any judgement from me. You're a grown up, and you know what you're doing.

This post is for people who don't become parents because they think there are rules, and that they'll be bad parents if they don't follow those rules.

I feel like the biggest obstacle standing in the way of those on the fence, is that someone in their lives who is just one "biological clock" comment away from hearing, "You know why I don't have kids? YOU'RE the reason I don't have kids!!!" So let me tell you, potential mothers and fathers, that you will not become that person. I swear.

You will not turn into that person who represents everything you feel is wrong with parenting and with becoming an adult, and your kids will not become the worst parts of yourself. It's the opposite.

Why do you think us parents post pictures of our kids on Facebook? Because we think our kids are incredibly beautiful? Maybe, but that's not the reason. We post these photos because we see our kids the way we'd like to see ourselves. We put those Mini-Me pictures because in our minds, we're just like them. We would have loved to laugh or cry without thinking, like we used to do. We put these pictures of our kids experiencing the wonders of the world because we only remember those wonders when we see these pictures. We spend years creating our identities, only to end up hiding our best traits: our sense of wonder and our spontaneity, so is it any wonder we think our kids do a better job representing us than our own manufactured self-identities? Is it any wonder we use our kids' pictures as our Facebook profiles? That's not hollow pride about how photogenic our kids are, it's an image to strive for.

But you don't have to post your kids' photos on Facebook. You don't even have to have Facebook. Your kids don't have to play soccer and dress up Barbies. What do you like? You like to play video games? You like to hike? You can do all that with your kids. Sure, you may have to take a break from killing zombies on your Playstation. But you know what's better than killing zombies by yourself? Playing Star Wars Lego on the Wii with your 5-year-old kid. All the rules you think exist, about what you should or shouldn't do as a parent, don't exist. You think you have to be the dad who grills? The mom who gives up her career? The parents who give up their identities?

Sure, there are downsides to being a parent, and the majority of people who say No to kids, make that decision because of those downsides. Parenting is not for people who won't have the time to be good parents, it's not for people who are afraid they'll do more harm than good to their kids, and most importantly, it's simply not for people who don't want kids.

But if you won't have kids because you're afraid of becoming a person who talks about kids and about parenting more than he talks about himself and about his own personal growth (or even about his hobbies), if you're afraid you'll become a person who puts thousands of his kids' pictures on Facebook, if you're not having kids because you're afraid of becoming someone like me, let's say, then you need to know you won't be me. I'm not offended. Hey, I was afraid of becoming the guy who would call his boy, "Buddy," and his girl, "Princess," but if I'm not that kind of person, that won't be me. And it won't be you. You won't be the minivan mom. You won't be "Coach." You won't be the parent who fills the back of his car with "My kid is an honor student" stickers. You won't be the parent who listens to crappy kids' music all day. Or even the parent who listens to good kids' music.

Unless you want to be all these things. It's OK either way. Your kids will be happy if you're happy.

I'm not pushing you to have kids. The world doesn't need more unwanted kids from disgruntled parents. The world does need loved kids with parents who think about having kids as an option rather than as a rite of passage. If that's you--if you're the guy who could potentially be a great dad but none of the other dads you see make any sense, or if you're a potentially great mom who can't even be around other moms, and her biggest fear is being welcomed into their circles, don't be afraid. You are you. Your kids will be your kids. You make the rules, and society will accept your family or get out of the way.

Friday, October 18, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood #3: Messy Spoons and Angry Birds

Here's the 3rd edition of the This Week in Fatherhood newsletter/blog post. I'm having a good time collecting these stories, and I hope you do too. As usual, please let me know if I missed anything or if you like/dislike this newsletter by emailing me. Also, if you want to receive this newsletter in your email once a week, subscribe here!


I often protest the way brands depict dads in ads. This time, since I thought this ad was funny and since it was for Durex, I couldn't pretend it made me angry or that it was evil in any way. Someone called this ad, "an insult to fatherhood." I disagreed. Watch the ad here.


There's no other word to describe people who use pictures of sick babies for greed. Since Facebook calculates fans' interaction to determine the reach of a Facebook page, marketers use an anything-goes approach, where a dying baby becomes nothing more than a hook for interaction. Read more about it on Fatherhood²'s Facebook Content Farming – Look Before You Like.


This is an amazing story. A 56-year-old man, dying from cancer, has fulfilled his promise to walk his daughter down the aisle, with the help of University Hospital volunteers. This is one picture, and you can get the whole story and more pictures on the original site: UH nurses help a dying dad to his daughter's wedding walk down the aisle

Photo by John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer

In other news, Dennis Baxley, a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives, has apologized on Friday for comments he had made, comparing gay parents to abusive and alcoholic parents. Here are his comments, followed by a video:

"It's easy to say parents need to get involved, but half these kids are raising themselves. They don't have any parents that are functional. How can we address that? I know its scope and I know it's hard, but you're probably their only hope. I mean I sat an hour-and- a- half with a teacher telling me, well this child has got serial men coming through the house, this one has two mommies, this one has an abusive father who's home, this one has alcoholism, this one has drug abuse. It was a casualty warfare event to hear - just her classroom. How many dysfunctional, atypical - to me - uh, structures are in the way of a kid having a chance to learn."

Comments like the ones Baxley makes in the video are depressing, to say the least, but the fact that a conservative Republican feels the need to apologize for these remarks shows how far the US has come.

Personal Blog Posts

I can't be happier to see my kids, 3 and 5, play with each other. They're becoming more and more independent, and I'm (almost) at the point where I can relax every now and then. Still, posts like 7 Things I Will Miss When the Boys Grow Up can bring out the baby-bug in anyone. MUST... BE... STRONG...

Meanwhile, at The Rookie Dad, a dad is "breaking up" with his son. He's going back to work, hoping that between the extra income and the extra mental and physical energy (being a stay-at-home dad is not always easy, I know), this will be a good move for the whole family, including his son. (It’s Not You, It’s Me – A Break Up Letter To My Son.)


This one is from the Dashing Dad Facebook page


This one is not from my blog, but from -- There are not a lot of entries, so far, which means you have a good chance to win this Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods game, which looks really cool. Good luck, and may the force be with you!


Here's a nice (but nameless) fatherhood video by Mike Raye:

Previously on

Here's a post from 2012, where I try to sum up what I try to pass on to my kids. I'm not sure "10 Fatherhood Influences" was the right title, but I hope you still give it a quick read, and comment on your own "fatherhood influences."

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Can't Fake Anger over This Durex Commercial

I've tried. Believe me, I've tried.

I've tried to join in the very sensible people who have a problem with this commercial. I watched it again and again, trying to get angry, and every time I watch it, I laugh instead.

In an article on PolicyMic, titled, "This Shameless Condom Ad is An Insult to Fatherhood," Marc Peters and Alexa Hassink write that this ad is "hurting current fathers, future fathers, and children everywhere."

That bad? They continue:

This supposedly hilarious ad paints a dystopian view of the future in which diverse fathers have one thing in common: their kids make them miserable. While presenting men as one-dimensional, regretful, and incompetent, and showing children as little destroyers may be funny, it’s not doing anyone any favors.

Apparently, the ad is "especially insulting to the 176,000 men who have left work to raise their children."

Well, count me out. Not insulted. It's an ad for condoms, coming from the "Having kids at this moment is a bad idea" angle. Because they sell condoms. And it's funny commercial, with four groin injuries. And groin injuries are funny. Sorry, I don't make the rules.

Sure, they're right when they talk about involved fatherhood. I agree that we should promote a "multifaceted, caring, and equitable image of what it means to be a man and a father in today’s world." I'm a firm believer in all of this stuff. But I'm also a firm believer that condom ads get a pass.

Judge for yourselves, and let me know if I'm a hypocrite for spending so much time railing against offensive brands while praising this ad just because I can't resist groin-injury humor.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nintendo 2DS Review #2DS

Nintendo 2DS Review

The family was invited to a Nintendo event, as part of the launch of the Nintendo 2DS, the new hand-held device from Nintendo, which comes in two colors, blue and red. Basically, it’s the same device as the Nintendo 3DS, only without the 3D part. Also, unlike the 3DS, it’s a single piece, which hopefully will make this device more stable in the hands of kids who tend to throw devices around as soon as they get distracted…

The 2DS costs $129.99, and it’s a fun little device you can use to connect to the Internet, build Miis (the Nintendo profiles. Come on, you know what a Mii is), take pictures, watch Netlix, and a whole lot more.

A lot of people, like us, are now updating their smart phones, and instead of trying to sell their old phones and maybe getting $50 back, give their kids their old phones. Our 5-year-old doesn’t keep his mom’s old iPhone 4 in his room, but he knows he can ask for it and get to take pictures, watch Netflix, Google stuff (I taught him to “do research” every time he has a question), and play games. I have a feeling we're not alone there, and that a lot of parents may opt to give their kids an old iPhone instead of a new device.

Still, at around $130, the Nintentendo 2DS might be exactly what many parents are looking for. It’s affordable, durable, and it’s part of the Nintendo Family, which means you get to play Mario, Donkey Kong, and other Nintendo-only games.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about it and if you’re thinking about getting one! (Also, let me know if you’re one of those who, like us, is giving his old phone to his kids.)

Nintendo 2DS Review

Saturday, October 12, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood #2: Mountains and Scarecrows

Well, there's a newsletter now, and I hope you subscribe. It will basically be the same as this post, but it will be in your email, which will make it easier to visit the blogs/sites I link to here. Subscribe!


I turned my daughter into a mountain
This week, I turned my daughter into a mountain. I usually don't pat myself on the back for being a good dad. I'm usually happy with "My kids are alive, which means I'm doing something right." But every once in a while, I allow myself to think I'm not half-bad. This post is the exception, then. I promise it will be soon followed by an "I don't know what I'm doing" post.

Kings Dominion Goes Halloween
Also on the blog this week, I wrote about my experience at the now-Halloween-ed Kings Dominion in Virginia. Spoiler: We had a great time, and got to hang with Brent from Designer Daddy and with his family (Kings Dominion Goes Halloween)


Beau from Lunchbox Dad has some amazing ideas for lunchboxes. This one is a special Scarecrow Lunch one, coming complete with a list of ingredients and directions.

Lunchbox Dad Scarecrow Lunch


Mommy Man book
Jerry Mahoney, whom I've mentioned in the blog in the past (Mother's Name), has a new book coming out soon-ish: Mommy Man: How I Went from Mild-Mannered Geek to Gay Superdad. You can pre-order the book now on Amazon, which will guarantee the lowest price available between now and the release of the book. Do it!


Two podcasts from blogging dads got some good news this week.

Congratulations to Josh from i simply am, whose new podcast has reached #13 on iTunes Top Self-Help Podcasts.

i simply am podcast

And good luck to the Life of Dad guys. Their podcast has been featured on iTunes all week.

life of dad podcast


This one, about conversations before and after having babies, was found on the Ask Your Dad Blog Facebook page:

conversations before and after babies


hide and seek
Henry's kids, like all kids, are amazing at playing hide and seek. Well, they're still better than my girl, who makes me count to 20 with my eyes closed, and then as soon as I open them, shouts, "Found you!"

Previously on

taking the low road
Here's an old post that will never get old, Taking the Low Road. A mother got upset because of something that happened at school, and once her story made the papers, the Internet responded with its usual herd-mentality, always-go-for-negative reaction, pretending the nasty comments they left about the mother were meant to help her kid who was suffering from having an over-protective mom. You should read this. And now I'm angry again.

Facebook Updates

One from DadSquared

And one from me...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Kings Dominion Goes Halloween #KDPlanetSpooky

Last month I got an email asking if I wanted to get family tickets to visit Kings Dominion in Virginia. Since it’s something we had told ourselves we’d do last time we drove south on 95, this seemed like a great opportunity. We ended up not having time to do any of the big, scary rollercoasters. Not even the near-vertical one I must have just imagined.

Here’s what we did do:

I met Brent from Designer Daddy. Here he is. Eventually you might notice him in this picture, once you get over the cuteness of his son and my daughter walking hand-in-hand.

We visited Planet Spooky. The younger kids’ area is called Planet Snoopy. It is the world’s largest PEANUTS-themed children’s area, and it was just named the 5th “Best Kids’ Area” in the world by Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards. Well, Snoopy has gone Halloween and turned into Planet Spooky, and everything there is now fall/Halloween-themed. There are also treat stations--kids can follow a map and collect what’s rightfully theirs. Planet Snoopy/Spooky is open between 12pm and 5pm every day.

We also visited the Dinosaur Alive area, where we got to walk next to the cool, giant dinos. Here, too, the dinosaurs are into the Halloween spirit. Many of them have dressed up--there’s a cheerleader dinosaur, a baby one, a dentist, and even a ninja. There are treat stations here too, and you can stop to rest while your kids excavate dinosaur bones in a large sandy pool. This area is also open from noon to 5pm.

We saw the Peanuts characters dance, and we took a picture with Snoopy. We also took a picture with a very tall man. My daughter doesn’t like tall men.

My 5-year-old son got to ride a rollercoaster in Planet Snoopy in the front. I’m 40-years-old, and I’ve never got to go in the front. Kids these days…

My son also got to drive a car, which he loved.

Now, although we had a great time, there are some things I have to mention.

Brent’s son also got to drive one of these cars, and ended his ride with a bloody lip. We all rushed to the First Aid building to make sure nothing was broken, and they quickly fixed him there, but we all still had a feeling that his injury happened because he wasn’t secured well in the car.

Also, although you pay for tickets, you also have to pay $15 per car to park, or $20 if you want to park closer. The dinosaur trail is another $5 per person (we were guests, so we didn’t pay to get into the park or to get to the Dinosaur Alive area). If you try to work out a budget for the day, don’t forget about the parking and the extra payment for the dinosaur trail or for other attractions.

We left at 5pm, when the Planet Spooky and the Dinosaur Alive attractions were done for the day, but I think we all felt we could have stayed there a little bit longer.

Another issue: I told my kids that if they got lost, they should find an employee and tell him or her they were lost. Then I looked around and saw 5 employees dressed in 5 different uniforms. It would have been helpful for me as a parent of young kids, at least in crowded areas with a lot of other young kids, to have some kind of standard clothes I could point at as the authority my kids should seek in case they got lost.

Other than these 4 issues, we did have a great time. We even paid to get a souvenir picture, which is something cynical people like me never do. But it was definitely a memorable experience for our kids and for us, and when we all look at that day, we will remember it as a great day spent with great friends.

And here are more pictures from the day:

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Day I Turned My Daughter into a Mountain

So I have a 5-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, and the boy has been perfecting his button-pushing technique for 3 years, and knows exactly what to say to make his sister cry. Since I spend at least an hour with both of them in the car every day, I do a lot of, "Don't be mean!" and, "Be a good big brother!" and also the occasional, "Seriously? You like it when she cries?"

Problem is that I had never looked at the other side of the equation. I only dealt with him, but hadn't tried to stop her from being offended by every little thing he said. Sure, it was up to my boy to stop pushing her buttons, but it was up to her to not let it get to her. And really, if my job is to raise a strong female human, I can't let her lose it every time someone says something she doesn't like to hear, especially if that someone is a person who loves her and she loves back. If that's how she reacts to her loving brother, how will she deal with really mean kids who may want to destroy her?

I realized it was time to try something new. We were on a highway, and her screaming tears, followed by an even louder, "I'M NOT A POOPY!!!" were driving me insane and making it hard to drive. But since I couldn't stop to have the usual, "You, leave her alone. And you, stop screaming" chat, I turned the music off, and very calmly started talking to her.

She was a mountain. And her brother's words were like the wind. And just like the wind moved up and down a mountain without affecting it or bothering it, her brother's words would just flow by her, and she'd remain strong, calm, and still.

Now, that's not me. I have no idea what exactly I said there, or where this mish mash of Eastern philosophies came from, but she loved it. And since then, every time he says something that makes her upset, I quickly shout, "What are you?" And she shouts back, "I'm a mountain!!!" And she's no longer upset.

Small victories... That's what it's all about.

And next on the agenda, two things:

1. Stopping my boy from saying mean things.

2. Finding a way to apply this to myself. How can I become a mountain?

Wind Redux

Friday, October 4, 2013

This Week in Fatherhood

Here's some of the fatherhood-related posts/news items/Facebook updates found this week (more or less). I'll try to make it either a weekly feature, or turn it into the newsletter I will finally get out. As soon as I'm done procrastinatin'. I'll be happy for any feedback about this feature!


This week, Dan Zevin won the Thurber Prize for American Humor, for his book, Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad. I've written my own review of the book a year ago, and said it was the funniest book I've read since Three Men in a Boat. I'm glad the Thurber people finally caught up!

I met Dan in Vegas, during the Toyota Sienna "thing," and since that guy couldn't be nicer, I consider him getting the award a positive thing for fathers, writers, and people in general. Worldwide.

Crazy Wendy Williams
Now, is this really news that Wendy Williams said a stupid thing? Jason Greene was invited to a Nick Mom event, where Williams was speaking about seeing "that guy" at a kid's birthday party. Here's what Jason says on his post, Wendy Williams, Tampons, and Mr. Mom:

"As the discussion moved along, Ms. Williams asked the mothers about their feelings when “That guy” shows up with the kids to a birthday party. In slightly mocking terms, she referred to the dad as “the Mr. Mom type.” She inferred that she doesn’t like Mr. Moms because she’s a baby boomer and that’s not the kind of man she is used to. She also mentioned that she doesn’t like having a man around when she wants to “sit at a table and talk about tampons,” and noted that it would be weird to discuss feminine hygiene in front of a guy. As she talked, I wondered how many people in the room were looking at me out of the corner of their eyes."
So yes, Wendy Williams doesn't like to see dads at kids' birthday parties, because it makes it uncomfortable for her to talk about tampons. Sorry, Dan, for putting you and Wendy in the same section.


Out of the Darkness Community Walk
Chris from Dad of Divas let us know about this fundraiser. I've written about fellow blogging dad Marc Block before. His friend Hilary Ratner is participating in the Los Angeles Out of the Darkness Community Walk, trying to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Read my post about the fundraiser, or better yet, just go to her fundraiser page.


Poochamungas Block Party
John, a member of our Dad Bloggers group, has a new kids' CD out. You can listen to some of the songs from the "Block Party" album here, and if you like it, click around the site and get to know his band, Poochamungas. Then buy the CD when it's out October 8th. Here's the Amazon link. (It's an affiliate link, because that's how I roll.)


The Year My Father Stayed Home with Me
Charlie from found this amazing 30 year old video of his dad being interviewed on a local TV channel, about his decision to stay home with his kid. Many of us stay-at-home dads feel like we're the first generation to stay home with the kids, so watching this video, complete with a psychologist warning mothers about the consequences of leaving home, is fascinating. You can watch the video below, or read more about it on HowToBeADad.


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