Category: Super Fun Adventures

The Best Day EVER!

 

Small children are prone to hyperbole.  The tiniest things become the biggest deals in their minds.  Sometimes, though, it’s hard not to take their exaggerations seriously.

A couple of weeks ago, for example, I got my Ferris Bueller on, and took a day off, to chill with J.  My basic gameplan was to just go with the flow. So that’s what we did. On  the way home from our hanging out, she told me the following:

“This is the best day ever, Daddy!”

I can’t front. I smiled huge at that comment.  But what did we do, you ask? What was so special about that day, which caused such a bold proclamation to come out of her three year old mouth? Lemme give you da rundown:

♦ First, my car needed an oil change, but before hitting the shop up, we stopped at a Tim Horton’s, to grab drinks.  We sat outside and drank them, while we waited for my car to be ready.  J spilled hers. Instead of being upset, she was pumped, because she made puddles. She spent the rest of the time singing and jumping over the puddles.

♦Back home, to grab J’s bathing suit, and to pack a lunch. J wanted to go to a splash pad and have a picnic. Easy peasy.  Splash pads are all around Hamilton. Later, while driving to the nearest one, J changed her mind and said that she wanted to go to a pad “by water”. Well, that narrowed my options, but it wasn’t a huge deal. Off to Pier 4 Park we go!

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Unnecessarily panoramic picture of Pier 4 Park.

♦Once we got to the park, we set up shop at a picnic table. J wanted to eat first, before playing, so we dug into our lunches. She spotted the sour cream and onion chips that I had brought for myself.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of letting her eat chips, but I figured today was a bit of a ‘cheat day’, so I said that she could have some. She happily took the bag and crunched away. Slowly.

♦A flock of seagulls began to circle our table. No, they didn’t start singing I Ran (So Far Away).  Time to move!  I suggested that J go play in the splash pad.  While I packed the picnic bag up, she ran to the splash pad, ran under a sprinkler, ran back over to me and said that she was still hungry.  The six seconds she went in the splash pad were the only time which she spent in it all day.

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♦Instead of eating, the park had a big tugboat playhouse thing, so I suggested that we go explore it. The boat had a picnic table inside of it.

J : I have a good idea, daddy! Let’s eat in the boat!

♦We ate in the boat.

♦ We explored the boat some more, by walking all around and through it. Afterwards:

J: I know! Let’s eat in the boat!

♦We ate in the boat again.

♦ Realizing that her stomach was apparently a bottomless pit, I suggested that we had ate enough food, and she should go play in the park. She climbed and slid for a while, then wanted to go on the swings. You know how some kids are cool swinging for a few minutes, and then they want off? Yeah, J’s not one of those kids.

♦ After what felt like 3 hours of of me pushing her, she had enough, and wanted off.

♦ Being near the waterfront meant that we were able to play one of our favorite games – Throw Rocks in Water. It is just as it sounds. We walk around, pick up stones, and throw them in water.  B and J love doing this, for some reason. I don’t mind it, either, because it’s an easy way to kill time. If you’re ever in Hamilton, and you see a homey and two small kids chucking pebbles in a pond, feel free to say hi to me.

♦We walked up and down the pier, to throw rocks off different points of it. While I was searching for some stones, J plopped down and started playing in dirt.

Me: What are you doing?

J: Building sandcastles!

Me: Uh, do you want to go to an actual beach with sand to do that?

J: Yeah!

Off to the Hamilton Beach we go!

♦ J fell asleep in her car seat, on the drive over.  That gave me time to park at the beach, and take care of an important piece of business that I had been slacking on – get caught up on Drake and Meek Mill’s beef. #BACKTOBACK

♦About an hour later, J woke up. It being a warm day, and us being near the best ice cream place in my opinion in the city, Hutch’s, I asked if she wanted some ice cream. Of course she said yes! We went in, and ordered a couple of cones. Cotton Candy for her, Strawberry for me.  J took one lick. Then:

J: Daddy, I’m thirsty. Can I have some milk, please? I don’t want ice cream.

You know what’s a hopeless situation? Trying to make a kid eat an ice cream cone who doesn’t want to. As you explain the importance of not being wasteful, the ice cream melts away, creating a gooey, unedible mess. If they don’t eat it, they can’t eat it, anyway. Awesome.

♦J understood what I was saying. She eventually said sorry. Not wanting to press the issue anymore, I tossed her melted cone in the garbage, went back to Hutch’s, and got her a cup of milk. They had milk on tap. Neat!

♦ From there, we strolled over to the beach.  After a quick game of Throw Rocks In Water, J happily played in the sand, on her own.

♦ As she played,  geese floated by, in the lake.

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Awwwww! Cute!

♦ Some dude and a couple of boys started throwing pieces of Wonder Bread around. This caused a flock of seagulls to scare away the geese, to try to get to the bread chunks. Still no I Ran (So Far Away), however.

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AHHHHHHH! Scary!

♦The seagulls were looking mighty hungry, so I figured that was the perfect time for us to bounce. Homeward bound we went.

And that was that.

Looking back, there really wasn’t much to it. Shoot, it wasn’t even the best day which I spent with her that week. The fam went to a Toronto Blue Jays game on the Saturday, and B and J got to run the bases when it was over. Way cool, right?

But in J’s mind?

Going on a picnic and hanging out by some water with her pops was the best day EVER! She still tells people about it, randomly.

It’s funny how kids can take the simplest things and make them a big deal, yet then also treat big deals like the simplest things.

It’s all good, though.

For real, sometimes the best and simplest thing to do with children…..is just keep it simple.

Review – WWE Live!

Some high flying in-ring action

Some high flying in-ring action

 

As I’ve noted before on this site, my son is a big fan of World Wrestling Entertainment.  On May 2, the WWE Live tour came to Hamilton, and, courtesy of two tickets from the WWE, we were able to attend the event!

In the weeks leading up to the show, to say that B was excited was an understatement. This was his first time seeing it live, and he was pumped to see a bunch of Superstars in person.  Not going to lie, though. As a parent, I was a bit nervous. I had been to live shows in the past, and it wasn’t the most family friendly environment. Now granted, this was years ago, before the shift to the more PG rated product that B was familiar with. I did do some online research beforehand, as well, and the general opinion seemed to be positive, in terms of taking small children. So off B and I went!

The first thing that I noticed, when we got to our seats, was that there were a TON of families with little kids in attendance. Almost all of them had merchandise and/or signs, supporting their favorite Superstars.

Me being old school, I had decided to rock a Mr. Perfect shirt to the show:

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No. No I am not perfect.

And B being new school, he decided to rock a bunch or random wrestling stuff, along with a shirt of his favorite wrestler, Kofi Kingston:

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The second thing which I noticed was that letting B pick cotton candy as a treat probably wasn’t the best idea, as he devoured it within minutes.

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Uh, can you say sugar rush?

The show started with Bad News Barrett’s entrance music filling the FirstOntario Centre. When he came strutting out, B hopped out of his seat and booed him, along with most of the other fans. Wrestling is all about good versus bad.  The babyfaces and the heels. B gravitates to the nice guys and girls. Through the whole night, I could tell that he had a blast cheering all of them on to victory. The atmosphere really was bananas, too. Thousands of people just losing their minds at the performers. It really wasn’t that hard to get caught up in the excitement!

My concern about the family friendliness also turned out to not be too big of a deal. In our section, someone did let a profanity slip once, but I heard him be quickly admonished for it (because there were kids around). From then on, “Kick his butt!” or “So and so sucks!” was the extent of the bad language.

Speaking of sucking, let’s go back to the aforementioned Kofi Kingston. B loves him, mainly because of the fact that he has always been a good guy. Recently, though, Kofi started a team with two other wrestlers called the New Day. They’re basically three happy-go-lucky guys who fans should cheer……but they don’t. So basically, Kofi’s character is a good guy who people boo. As a result,the New Day are slowly turning into bad guys.

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New Day, in action.

As luck would have it, the New Day actually wrestled at the show! B instantly recognized the first chords of their entrance music, and started freaking out when they entered the arena. This made me freak out, too. We were the only freaks, unfortunately. They got booed lustily by everyone else, and pounded with ‘New Day sucks!’ chants, throughout their match. Our feeble attempts to start a ‘New Day rocks!’ chant fell on deaf ears. The highlight/lowlight was B hopping onto his chair, to yell “New Day does not suck! They rock!” (don’t worry, I did pull him down, and told him not use the word suck).  New Day lost the match, but still walked out with their tag team championship belts, which thrilled B. He got to see his fav wrestler in person, who left with his gold title, to our cheers. Sweet!

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New Day’s opponents that night, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, celebrating like nobody’s business.

All in all, the show was about two and half hours, but it flew by. In terms of the Squirm Test (how I tell if my kids are feeling something, based on how much they squirm), it was a success. B was on the edge of his seat the whole time. The only time he started to get fidgety was during the last match, a wild brawl  between Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper, which went all around the ring, and had them putting each through tables. B was getting pretty tired by that point, so I don’t blame him for getting restless.

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One sleepy looking lil man, on our way out.

One final note – man, some of these wrestlers are huuuge. TV doesn’t do them justice. The fact that dudes that large can pull off the athletic stunts that they do is pretty incredible.

Thanks again, WWE, for the hookup. Sports entertainment at its finest. Great night at the fights!

 

 

 

Disney Junior And LEGO DUPLO’s Magic of Play Tour

Over the next few weeks, Disney Junior and LEGO® DUPLO® are joining forces, to travel across Canada, for the Magic of Play Tour!  As noted on the Disney Junior website:

Disney Junior and LEGO® DUPLO® are hitting the road together with fun filled, FREE indoor events in 8 cities! Build and discover the many ways to play with LEGO® DUPLO® bricks while you watch and enjoy your favourite Disney Junior shows! Plus take home a special Magic of Play activity booklet! It’s all totally free, but get there early so you don’t miss out on the fun.

Recently, my family was fortunate enough to attend a VIP experience of the tour,  at Vaughan Mills!

When we arrived, K and I were both immediately impressed with the setup. The booth was divided into a bunch of building stations and play areas, along with tons of DUPLO® blocks. There were several friendly, enthusiastic attendants working the booth, too. At first, B and J were pretty hesitant. Once one of the attendants started to engage them, and hook them up with pieces to build their structures, they were good to go!

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Another neat thing about the booth was that it had a TV in it, which played some Disney Junior shows. It was a good way to take a break from all of the playing!

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Now, we weren’t the only VIPs, as there were other invitees at the experience, too. It was cool watching all of the kids interact with one another, and assisting in each other’s creations. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of jacking of each other’s blocks. Way to play nice, children!

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A side of the booth had cut-outs of Jake (from Jake and the Never Land Pirates) and Sofia  (from Sofia The First). Perfect for photo-ops! I saw some of the other parents taking advantage of this. Their boys and girls were way more into smiling for the camera than mine were, however. I asked B and J to stand by the cut-outs, so I could snap a shot of them. This is what I got (lookin’ pretty fresh, eh):

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Uh, your kids aren’t in this.

 

Oh. Right. No worries! They were too busy building masterpieces, to stop and pose for pictures! Hey B, what did you make?

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“A PRESENT!”

 

Well, happy birthday to you! Yo J, what do you got?

 

"I DON"T KNOW!"

“I DON”T KNOW!”

Nice?!

Huh? No, you can’t have that playset. It’s not for sale, just for show.

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No really, you can’t have it. Quit trying to open up the display case!

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Stop looking at it so forlornly!

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Ahh, jeez. Please stop looking so sad.

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Snacktime! Oranges. J was so in the building spirit, that, after she peeled her orange, and took the pieces apart, she tried to put them back together. Irrationally, she kept get getting madder and madder when the pieces wouldn’t stay together. Us trying to appeal to her sense of logic fell on deaf ears, as did the offer of a new orange. Soon enough, the tears started flowing. I’ve noticed that there’s always at least one crying kid, in pretty much any situation involving kids.  I guess that we were due to be the parents of that kid.

Anyway, when J’s upset, she wants a soother. However, we’ve been trying to get her out of this habit. So, when she asked for it this time, I said no. She then did what any soon-to-be three year old girl would do – check K’s purse for a soother, and then, after coming up empty-handed, walk over to the coat section, and start checking pockets for one. I’ve noticed that there’s always at least one pickpocket in pretty much……………man, even I can’t justify that. Sorry, VIPs in attendance that day. We didn’t take anything, promise!

Because we’ve learned to pick and choose our battles, we let her have her pacifier.  This made her happier than Pharrell.  In the meantime, while this was going on, B was playing with some train tracks. I could be wrong, but it look liked he made an elevated track to nowhere, complete with some dude in a car who’s plummeted off of the edge.

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We were there a for about an hour, and could have easily stayed longer, but we had to get going. Before we left, K tried to get a nice picture of us:

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Yes, that is me pleading with J to take her soother out, for one lousy photo. No dice, of course. She’d pose for the camera, but only with the soother. Fine. Whatever.

Say cheese, guys!

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Dang it!

Whatever. Still the best picture of the three of us that we’ve ever taken. Welcome to my world.

All kidding aside, big ups to Disney Junior and LEGO® DUPLO® for inviting us to check out the tour. We seriously had a blast!  Here is where the tour will be visiting, over the next few weeks:

February 28 – March 1 Laval, Québec Carrefour Laval
March 6-8 Montréal, Québec Fairview Point Claire
March 14-15 Vaughan, Ontario Vaughan Mills
March 21-22 Surrey, British Columbia Guildford Town Centre
March 27-29 Calgary, Alberta Chinook Centre
April 4-5 Edmonton, Alberta West Edmonton Mall
April 11-12 Toronto, Ontario Fairview Mall
April 18-19 Etobicoke, Ontario Sherway Gardens

 

It’s fun, it’s free, it’s indoors, and it’s definitely worth making time for with your kids, if it’s in your area!

 

 

 

 

 

The Making Of An Adequate Dance Dad, Part 2 (The Departure)

I’ve come to the conclusion that, just because your kids really want to go somewhere, doesn’t mean that they’ll make it easy for you, the parent, to take them there.

Say you came up to me, like “Yo Mike! I got an extra ticket for the Toronto Raptors game tonight. You down?” I’m a big hoops fan, so I’d be down, no doubt. However, once we got to the Air Canada Centre, I wouldn’t suddenly drop to the ground, and need to be dragged to my seat, kicking and screaming the whole way. That’s ridiculous.

And yet, with my kids, I can usually expect to be given a hard time, when trying to leave the house with them. Doesn’t matter where we’re going; there’s going to be an unnecessary struggle. I don’t get it.

Take dance class, for example. Like I said in part 1, J really enjoys it. Once she walks into the dance studio, she has a blast. Actually getting her there, though?

Yikes.

Lemme explain. Here’s a typical Saturday morning:

♦We wake up. I tell J that we are going to dance class. Even though she loves it, she will refuse to go. She’ll throw a fit because, well, toddlers.

♦ Time to get her dressed. Depending on her mood, this varies in levels of sucktacularness. If she’s feeling like a mommy’s girl, she’ll freak if I attempt to change her, because I’m not her mom. She’ll insist that K get her ready, instead (It’s all good. My feelings aren’t hurt that badly when she does this. She’s only choosing mommy over daddy. No biggie…………  Sniff. No, I’m not crying. My eyes are just secreting liquid!)

If she’s feeling like Destiny’s Child and wants to be an independent woman, then she’ll freak if I attempt to change her, because she wants to dress herself. Now, I’ve never tried to squeeze my body into tights and a leotard before. I am pretty sure that I would struggle, if I did, though. It’s a lot of cramming/pulling/ stuffing. Normally, J is more than able of dressing herself, in everyday clothes.   As such, after spurning my offer to help put on her dance stuff,  J will start off all sassy and confident. Eventually, she realizes that she is in over her head . She will then suck up her pride, and come to me for assistance (tights hanging loosely off her butt, leotard around her ankles). I can then get her dressed.

♦ I  get her ready, but only after much effort. One time, she started doing pelvic thrusts on her back, while I was trying to change her diaper.

Brainstorming

If B’s around, he’ll play the role of big brother to a T, and bug the heck out of her.  As if putting on her clothes wasn’t challenging enough, try adding in some arguing and squirming.

♦ I style her hair.

Ha!

Just kidding. She likes her hair loose and unruly. Most of the time, she has that Albert Einstein look going on, if Einstein was a toddler girl.

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Even if she did let me touch it, I’m not much of a stylist anyway.  I’ll admit, I may have gotten confused many times once trying to take the elastics out of her hair, and ended up using scissors to hack them off.

♦ We grab some breakfast. After that, we make sure that her dance bag is packed with all of the required items.  One item will inevitably be missing,  which requires a time consuming search for it.

♦ We hit the road. Usually, we crank some jams in the car. We also have conversations about whatever is on her little mind. Lately, she is concerned about what she is going to take for lunch when she goes to school in a few years. Yep.

Sometimes, she cracks jokes. Like this:

J – Knock knock.

Me – Who’s there?

J – John Cena!

Me – John Cena who?

J – UPTOWN  FUNK YOU UP!

Me – (confused silence)

J – Oh. That’s not John Cena.

 

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Yeah, yeah, I know, Bruno Mars. That yours and Mark Ronson’s song.

 

♦ We arrive. When I go to open the door, to get her out of her car seat, she’ll lock the door with her foot. While I mutter under my breath, fumbling in my pocket for the keys, to unlock the door, she laughs hysterically.

♦Once we enter the studio, everything is awesome.

And that’s our routine.

I mean, yeah, it’s a bit……… annoying, but it could be a lot worse. As long as she gets there, tries hard and has fun, then really, I can’t complain.  I’ve been wrong about a lot of this introductory dancing stuff (hey, did you know that they don’t teach little kids the Shmoney dance? Go figure. ) but on this regard, even I know that it’s all just part of the job as a dance dad.

Or, I guess, job as a dad, in  general.

The Making Of An Adequate Dance Dad, Part 1

 

dance

A few months ago, there was a big milestone at our house – we signed J up for her first dance class! Introductory level for wee ones, held every Saturday morning.  My initial reaction was that this was a fantastic idea. It would be some nice mother-daughter bonding time between K and J! Tutus and jazz hands and ballerinas? That stuff is way too foreign to me. I’d limit my involvement to just going to the recitals and taking some pictures.

Sit back and enjoy the show, right?

Yeah, not so much.

Like most things parenting-related, I was wrong.

Well, firstly, I wasn’t actually allowed by the dance studio to take pictures at the recital. Secondly, there was a time conflict. B also had basketball Saturday mornings. As a result,  one parent had to take him there, while the other had to take J to her class. Shockingly, no one else thought that it would be best if I took B to hoops all of the time.  It was decided that we’d take turns each week, taking the kids to their activities.

So……..

that meant…………..

I would now have to be………..

A DANCE DAD!

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Dun dun dunnnnnnnn!!!

Now, in all honesty, the first few weeks didn’t go too badly. I say this beause K took J, not me. Luckily, however,  J did take a liking to the class immediately. The objective set by the instructors was to let the parents in the dance room for a couple of weeks, to get the kids used to the class. Eventually, the parents would not be allowed in the room, and instead would have to watch in the waiting area,  through a window.  J, bless her heart, was cool going solo in the room after about two weeks. And luckily for me, that meant that I would never have to be the “last parent standing”. You know, that parent who has the kid that is the only one left who freaks out when their mommy or daddy try to leave the room. The parent then has to spend the whole class prancing along to Let it Go with the other toddlers, while the dance moms laugh and snicker at them from behind the window.

Awww, dance moms.

Not gonna lie, hanging out with them is what had me shook the most, initially. I had seen parts of the television show ‘Dance Moms’. Since reality TV is totally like real life, I assumed that there would be lots of yelling, gossiping and mean chick cliques, none of which bode well for yours truly.

Of course, this wasn’t the case at all, and everyone there, from the parents to the instructors, is pretty chill. As one of the only solo dance dads among the dance moms each week, I did feel that I had to formulate a strategy, though, to fit in. Social awkwardness ain’t no joke.  I went about my strategizing  by observing the other guys that would come to the studio. For example:

– Some used the ‘drop and go’ technique. They dropped their kid off, and came back an hour later, when the class was done. Even though it’s 9:00 AM, I imagine that they’re going for beers. Or not. I have no clue. This wouldn’t work for me, anyway, as J was a bit too young (not quite three years old) to be left by herself, I think.

– Some used the ‘sit and stay’ technique. The waiting area has lots of chairs. As such, some guys preferred to grab a seat and spend some quality time on their phones. I did briefly employ this tactic during the first week that I took J. However, driving home after, when I asked her how she did, she recapped some stuff, but then ended it by saying, sadly, “you missed it.”  I swear, as if to really make sure the mood hit home, Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross came on the radio, too. From then on, no more sit and stay. I try to watch as much as possible, through the window. Now, when J does something that she’s really proud of, like throw a scarf in the air and catch it, she’ll look over to me, grinning, like ‘Yo, did you just see that?!’ I’ll grin back to her like ‘Darn right, I saw that! Do ya thang, lil girl!’

– Side note: one guy came to a class a couple of weeks ago, and spent the hour watching videos on his phone, with the volume cranked up. From what I heard, the videos were all of people talking to each other in Japanese, over random hip hop instrumentals. 50 Cent probably never thought the beat to Disco Inferno would end up there. Haha, I bet if you  found this guy in da club, bottle full of bub, you’d have 21 QUESTIONS for him,  amirite, 50 Cent?

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Shut up, Mike.

 

Sorry, Fiddy.

Anyway, the man had a blast watching these videos, laughing uproariously, completely oblivious to the dirty looks everyone was giving him. I now aspire to one day have that guy’s ‘I Don’t Give a F**k’ level.

– Some made the most of their time by chatting up the moms. While this is a great way to kill time/make friends if you’re a talkative individual, I, unfortunately, am not. Also, I did observe one man once say something to a lady (I didn’t hear what), which led to nervous laughter by her, a step back, and awkward silence.

Yikes.

Forget that option. No need to  make someone else as uncomfortable as me. You never know who’s packing pepper spray nowadays, too.

Nonetheless, from these observations,  I was able to find a groove. I’m that dude, chillin’ at the window, watching the toddlers work it.  Mainly keeping to myself.

It’s all good, though, for real.

See, the end of the class is what makes it all worthwhile. That’s when the instructors wave the parents into the room. We all head in, to sit along the walls, and watch whatever routines the kids learned that day. When J sees me, she always cracks a big smile and runs over, to excitedly tell me something. Yo, even I know that these are the moments that are to be appreciated.  In a few years, she won’t always be happy to see me, or even care that I’m there watching her.  I get that. Until then, it’s nice to feel the love.

The routines that they do are straight jokes, too. Half the time, J is an active participant, bustin’ a move; other times, she just stands there picking her nose, glaring at the parents. Either way, it’s always entertaining, just sitting back and enjoying the show (hey, I was right about that!).

That’s all I got for now. Keep an eye out for the epic conclusion to this two part series. In that part, my journey to becoming an adequate dance dad is completed, but along the way there are dragons, Mortal Kombat-style death fights and drag races.

Or you know, there’s none of that, and I just recap some more stuff that happens at introductory dance classes.

Later.

 

 

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J, rocking her dance gear.

 

 

 

 

Catch Me If You Can

gb

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Yeah, man. It’s the holiday season, which means that it’s the time of the year when we can stuff our faces with holiday goodies!

One of my favourite treats during this season are fresh, home-made gingerbread cookies. I’ve discovered that decorating these cookies is an easy activity which the whole family can enjoy, especially little kids.

Today, I’m going to share with you some steps, so you can make your own fresh, home-made gingerbread cookies, just like my family!!!!

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven. Pull out the following ingredients:

 

Well...no, I guess not.

Uh oh…….

Step 2

Realize that you’ve never made fresh, home-made gingerbread cookies before, and that you don’t actually have a recipe. Turn oven off. Go to a store and buy a premade decorating kit (we went with a kit that had a whole family of gingerbread people, complete with a gingerbread pet dog).

Step 3

IT’S JUST YOU AND MEEEE!

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Source: Alan Light

 

Go away, Jordan Knight!

I’ll karaoke “Step By Step” later.

Anyway, come home and open up the kit, in your kitchen. Listen to your son and daughter argue over who gets the biggest cookie. Tell them that they don’t get the biggest cookie. Give them each the next two biggest ones, of equal size. Keep the biggest for yourself.

What?

You’ve earned it.

Step 4

Open up the icing packets, and, using your cookie, carefully show your kids how to spread the icing on, to properly decorate it. Ask them which colour of icing they want, to start.

Step 5

If your son said green, but your daughter said red, as soon as you’ve given him the green packet, he will immediately change his mind and say that he wants the red one. Habitual douchebaggery, as I’ve mentioned before. He will freak out, when you explain that he’ll have to wait his turn. As such, in a firm but authoritative voice, tell him that, if he doesn’t knock it off, you’ll smash his cookie into so many little pieces that he’ll need a magnifying glass to see them.

He’ll knock it off.

Step 6

Tell your daughter to stop eating all of the icing, and just decorate her cookie.

Step 7

Tell your son to stop eating all of the icing, and just decorate his cookie.

Step 8

Tell your son that he can’t open the packet of sprinkles yet. Chase son around kitchen when he won’t give the sprinkles to you. Curse Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.  Don’t stop running until you’ve caught him.

Step 9

Your daughter now has more icing on her than on the cookie, somehow. Wonder how she managed to get icing in the back of her hair.

Step 10

While you’re wondering this, your son will grab the sprinkles, and rip the package open, because, well, WTF. The sprinkles will, uh, sprinkle everywhere, and make a big shiny disaster all over the table and floor. Accept your son’s apology because he seems remorseful.

Step 11

Gather up some sprinkles with a spoon and sprinkle them on your cookie. Ask kids to do the same.

Step 12

Tell your daughter to stop eating all of the sprinkles, and just decorate her cookie.

Step 13

Tell your son to stop eating all of the sprinkles, and just decorate his cookie.

Step 14

Twist off the lid of the narrow tube of icing, the one that looks like a tube of crazy glue.  Gently dab drops from it onto your cookie, to adhere the facial features. Open package of candy, and put candy on the icing drops, to make the eyes and a nose. Ask kids to do the same.

Step 15

Your son will squeeze tube as hard as he can, to get as much icing out as possible, because, well, WTF. Grab tube from him, and give to daughter. Daughter will carefully dab drops on, but will still somehow get more icing in her hair.

Step 16

Tell your daughter to stop eating all of the candy, and just decorate her cookie.

Step 17

Tell your son to stop eating all of the candy, and just decorate his cookie.

Step 18

Because of all of the icing he globbed on, your son will try to get as much candy as possible to stick onto the face. It will look like the gingerbread man has multi-coloured acne. When it doesn’t all stick, your son will be upset for a minute, but he’ll get over it by eating the candy. Your daughter, in the meantime, will suck on the tube of icing like it was two years ago and she was still being breastfed. #throwbackthursdays

Step 19

Voila!

You’re done! Just like my family!

Granted, you won’t need to follow most some of these steps.  Your kitchen probably won’t look like the set of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” video afterwards, too, like mine did. With any luck, though, your kids will have had a blast.  And, most importantly, hopefully, your cookies turn out like this:

 

IMG_20141211_215747_145

BON APPETIT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine That

hcky

 

 

One of the cool things about small children is that they are easily entertained. “I’m bored!” is not  really in their vocabulary yet, so they can always find some way to amuse themselves.  Currently, my kids like to play ‘camping’, for example.  They can play that for like an hour at a time.  I have no clue what they’re doing.  They pile up a bunch of stuff (stuffed animals, toy shopping carts,  high heel shoes etc.) and then pretend to sleep under some blankets.

Whatever, though. The key point is that an hour of  them happily playing means an hour free for me!  I do the most productive things during this spare time, yo. You know, like chew through an episode or two of a show all of my child-less friends binge watched years ago, that I missed out on  (Did you know that Dan was the Gossip Girl, all along? OMG!).

Sometimes, a kid’s imagination is an uncreative parent’s best friend, for real. Other times, however, you gotta keep their imaginations in check. Those things can go 0 to 100 real quick, if you don’t.

B and I used to have this thing, where we would ‘zap’ each other. He’s pretty ticklish, so as a joking consequence to something, I would shape my fingers like a gun, poke him and make a buzzing sound, causing him to giggle. He started doing it to me, too, when I got out of line. My reaction was to act like I was being electrocuted.  It was stupid, I know, but it was easy to do, and it amused him, for some reason.

Last summer, I saw him zap a little girl. Just out of the blue.  She looked at him exactly like you’d expect she would, when a weird kid is poking her in the arm with his finger, while saying “bzzzzz.”. I then imagined what would happen if B ever got into a fight.  I’m pretty sure that a punch to the face trumps a zapper 100% of the time.

We don’t zap each other very much nowadays.

I’ll give you another example. It was an afternoon a few months ago. B was messing around, and he somehow found a sponge ball. So, randomly, do you know what he wanted to do with it?

Find a scantily clad woman and perform and elaborate juggling act?

Find a scantily clad woman and perform an elaborate juggling act?

Huh?

No, not that. Play hockey with it, that’s what he wanted to do!

Now, I’m not that into hockey (Sigh. Yes, I’m Canadian. Not everyone here is a hardcore fan), but we do own some mini sticks and nets. So, off to the basement me, B and J went.  National Hockey League, here he comes? Well……let me give you the Sportscentre recap of that afternoon’s events:

1) No goalie allowed (his rule), so I took a shot and scored. He dropped his stick, and hopped on J’s pink tricycle:
Me – ‘What are you doing?’
B – ‘It’s my break bike.’
Me -‘A break? From what? You didn’t do anything.’
B – ‘It’s my work bike. I’m doing my work.’
The work just involved doing laps of the basement, like a Zamboni driver. I grabbed a seat and waited.

2) Work’s done, so he picks up his stick again. We stand up, he whiffs on a shot, and then he’s back on the bike:
B – ‘OK, the Zamboni has to clean the ice now!’
He does more laps and talks to me about cleaning the ice, in a deep, manly voice.

It was like James Earl Jones' voice, but deeper.

It was like James Earl Jones’ voice, but deeper.

 

3) The ice is  apparently clean, and it’s time for more hockey! As soon as he parked the bike, J walked over to it, and started riding it. And as soon as she did, B whacked the ball as hard as he could and sent it flying into a pile of boxes:
B – ‘The ball is gone forever! I need a break.’
Me – ‘A break from what? You still haven’t done anything!’
B – ‘I need to clean the ice again!’
He chased J down, got the bike back, and did more laps. More manly Zamboni driving voice, too.
4) I found the ball, and started taking light wrist shots at him with it, while he was riding around. What? It was made of sponge, it didn’t hurt. I used to do the same type of thing at the driving range, to the person in the golf ball collector. Anyway, he got off the bike, and it’s game on, finally. He steals the ball from me, scores, and then tells me it’s my turn. I take a shot and the ball ends up flying into a box. Swish! So then:
B – ‘OK, it’s break time.’
Me – ‘A break from what?! You still haven’t done anything!’
B – ‘Can we play basketball?’
Me – ‘We don’t have your basketball. It’s in Mommy’s car.’
B – ‘Well I need to ride my bike then.’
More laps.

More laps.

Eventually the laps dissolved into him wanting to collide into stuff. J lost interest, so she headed upstairs. We soon followed.
Total time spent playing hockey – about 42 seconds
Total time spent not playing hockey – about 30 minutes
Sidney Crosby, your job is safe…..for now.

Doesn’t really matter. Whatever it was we played, it was still pretty fun.

Who could have imagined that?

Zamboni man, your job is safe too...for now.

Zamboni man, your job is safe too…for now.

 

The Great Unknown

You can’t watch your kids 24-7.

It’s impossible. You, and them, need to sleep.

As B becomes more resourceful and J becomes more mobile, I’ve learned the hard way that there is one real shady part of the day.

It’s that time between when the kids wake up…. and when I wake up.

See, they could both wake up and entertain each other on their own, before K and I emerge from our slumber. Or, they could wander into our bedroom first and ask when we’re getting up, resulting in me mumbling some random answer to buy me a few more minutes of sleep, before they take off again. Whatever the reason, this period where they are left unattended usually results in the most ridiculous, illogical things. It’s like an abyss of WTF moments.  Like, I don’t understand what they’re thinking as they’re making a mess in the playroom with shampoo, or covering their faces with chapstick, or emptying bins of cars in our in bedroom so that our floor looks like a Hot Wheels factory.

Maybe they  were playing Home Alone, and were setting a booby trap for the Wet Bandits.

Maybe they were playing Home Alone, and were setting a booby trap for the Wet Bandits.

 

Take the other morning, for example. B and J were up early (like, before roosters early).  I awoke with B between my legs, rowing them and rocking back and forth as if I was a stupid kayak or something, while J laughed. I told him stop and go watch TV in the playroom, so off they went. Cool. All was quiet for a bit, but then they wanted breakfast . Fine, whatever. I grabbed some food for them, told them to eat in the playroom,  took a quick look around to make sure they hadn’t gotten into anything, and then went back to bed.

After what I said about this great unknown timeframe, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now, right?

Of course, not, yo.

I dozed off, and not long after (maybe  20-25 minutes), I vaguely think that there was yelling from K about someone eating candy. Anyway, I got out of bed and saw disposable baby wipes everywhere. On our floor, in the playroom, in the hallway.  The kids had gotten into a bag of them. I groggily went into B’s room and saw B by the bag, holding a wipe. He proudly told me to look at how clean his room was, because he polished the walls.  Man, getting him to pick up his toys is a struggle. Of course he chose this time, with the wrong object, to become Mr Clean.

After politely telling B to stop, I went to work in gathering up the wipes. Started in B’s room and worked my way out. I noticed that some of them were red. Not blood red but a goopy red. My immediate half awake thought was that episode of Breaking Bad where Walt and Jesse tried to dispose of a body by putting it in some hydroflouric acid.  This was followed by my next completely logical thought of  ‘Oh, shoot, where’s J?!’

OMG, Mr. White, what did you do??

OMG, Mr. White, what did you do??

 

Have no fear, she was just halfway down the stairs, no diaper on, holding a goopy wipe, polishing the hall walls. She saw me, came up the stairs, walked into our room, wrapped the wipe around a dresser handle, smiled at me and went into B’s room. Normal chain of events.

Wait, pause, no it wasn’t!

I followed J and found B had gotten into the bag AGAIN. He had wipes all over his bed. Polishing his sheets, I’m sure.

Anyway, I took the bag with me this time, and went downstairs to find the source of the goop. All of the lights were off except for the one in the pantry so I went over to it. I walked past some candy wrappers, opened the door…..and stepped in a big puddle of pee. We don’t have pets, by the way. Even old Sherlock Homeboy here cracked this case. J took her diaper off, went to help herself to some treats and took a leak on the floor. Once again, perfectly reasonable behavior. After cleaning up that mess, I was more than a little peed off (and on….my foot) so it was back upstairs to talk to J. I stormed into B’s room, and found them like this:

IMG_20140426_082036_208

 

 

B said that he didn’t like his bed, so he made up a new one out of a chair. J has a toothbrush because…..I don’t know. Hey, dental hygiene is important after sneakily gobbling up candy. My anger turned to confusion, so I just had to laugh at them.

The goop was (and still is) a mystery, however.

Welcome to the great unknown.

 

 

The Good Ol’ Hockey Game

 

Smiley_Olympics

Oh Canada! The Olympic men’s hockey finals this week  was kind of a big deal.  The night before, I set my alarm to go off just before the game started, 6:45 AM. The next morning, I woke up, went downstairs, and saw the fam already there. Were they up to watch, too, chock full of national pride?

Nah.

K was sleeping on the couch, while B and J were watching Disney Junior. Me changing the channel was met with snoring/mumbling from K, loud complaining from B, and J whining while angrily stripping down to her diaper. Pretty much a lost cause, so I  made some coffee, and went back to my room to watch the game there.

K gravitated upstairs not long afterwards, which left the kids downstairs…. alone! Cue the studio audience saying “Ooooooh”.   They were quiet, and I didn’t hear them doing anything (which is always a good sign, amiright, parents?).  I went to check on them at the first intermission. I found them in their coats and boots (J was still in her diaper, so this was all that she had on), just about to go out the front door.
Me – ‘What are you doing??’
B – ‘Nothing.’
Me – ‘Where are you going???’
B – ‘We are going to the car, to get my B.EA.R. book.’
The book was in clear view beside him, sticking out his backpack, so I showed it to him.
Me – ‘You mean this book?’
B – ‘Oh. Yeah.’
He grabbed it, took off his boots and jacket, and went to read it. Pretty sure he was lying about going to get the book. Maybe they were going to a bar to watch the rest of the game? Good thing he forgot to get the car keys. #heis4yearsoldhecantdrive
I stayed downstairs for the rest of the game, however, to make sure that they didn’t try to go on any joyrides.

When the game ended (Canada, what!? Knock knock? Who’s there? Gold medal to the face, that’s who’s there!) I tried to get the kids to watch the medal ceremony. After the first Swede got his silver, they got bored, wanted snacks instead. Kids, nowadays, they have no appreciation for historical moments, sheesh.  They gobbled some fruit up, then went back upstairs. A few minutes later, while I was humming Oh Canada, B told me that J had dumped the ‘metal things again.’

WTF?

Turns out, she had poured a big box of staples all over the floor. Maybe she thought that they were shiny confetti, and she was celebrating the victory? If picking hundreds of staples out of a carpet was an Olympic event, I would have a won the gold that morning (Knock knock? Who’s there? Silver staples in your feet, sucker, that’s who’s there).
‪#‎GoCanadaGo‬

Fear Factor

Sure, Joe Rogan, you can host this post.

Sure, Joe Rogan, you can host this post.

 

 

For real, I’ve never really been afraid of a lot things.  Horses and heights come to mind, but I got over those fears.  More recently, though, one thing scared me more than anything else:
Extended time on my own with both kids.

What?

I mean, my kids are my world,  I love spending time with them. Don’t get it twisted.  Thing is, before having kids, I honestly wouldn’t even hold other people’s babies, because I was worried that I would drop them.
So yeah, the first few months of Brax’s life,  with a fresh child and everything being new, I was petrified at being alone with him.  What was I supposed to do to entertain him? How do you stop his crying? The little guy was helpless and was totally dependent on me to take care of him. Holy nerve-wracking!  It took a while, but  it did eventually get to the point where K could go out comfortably and not to worry that she would come home to any serious damage/ injuries.  B would be fine, too.

Then, when J was born, those old fear feelings came back. You gotta be on point 100% of the time with kids. You turn your head for one moment, and things could get real ugly, real fast, for real.  Kids like to explore and do the most illogical, nonsensical stuff, so you need to watch them like a hawk constantly.  While I’m helping one with their jacket, the other one will sprint off towards an open door.  I leave the table to get them drinks, I come back, and they’re standing on their chairs leaning far forward, like they’re re-enacting Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal video.

 

That’s the basis for my fear, I think. They’re little maniacs. I don’t want them to get hurt on my watch, and I worry a lot about the consequences and ramifications if they do.

When it’s just me with the kids nowadays for a few hours, my gameplan involves staying home.  Ahhh, home. A nice, safe confined setting. But, occasionally, K is gonzo for an extended period of time.  When this happens, more often than not, the kids go stir crazy hanging out in the house all day, and I need to get them out. That involves leaving my comfort zone to go with them…on an outing.

Like I said, I do enjoy doing things with the family. But man, even with two parents, the process of getting ready, packing diaper bags, and even putting on their  shoes is an ordeal. Then while we are out and about, it’s  always an ordeal, never relaxing. I know, I know, as long as the kids have fun, that’s all that matters!! But eliminate one parent from the equation so the remaining one is outnumbered by the kids? You better batten down the hatches, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Here’s an example. Our daycare provider went on vacation for a week, so K and I and some other family members took turns taking time off from work or whatever to watch  B and J. How’d my day go? Well…. First,  in the morning, while trying to get ready to leave, B was watching Youtube videos on the Playbook:
B – ‘Go away. I’m busy.’
Me – ‘Busy doing what?’
B – ‘I’m doing my job.’
Me – ‘What’s your job??’
B – ‘Watching this!’
Huh? He’s too young to be smarmy and indignant! I blame that jerk Max, from Max and Ruby for the attitude, by the way. Jeez, my disdain for that show is a post for another day.

Anyway, he did finish his job, and we could go…. But before we left, I went to our room to get my keys, and I heard a high pitched blood curdling scream. Yeah, remember what I said about my fear of them getting hurt?  I thought J was injured, so I rushed to see what happened.
Instant worst case scenarios flashed through my head. It was just B, fortunately, who screamed, not J.  He saw an ant. Anyway, we did  head out after that terrifying incident.

ant

Our trip took us to an indoor play gym (or as my one friend calls them – playgerms). In  theory, great idea. Just put the kids down, let them run amok, and I would join the other parents on parent’s row. You know, that area in every play gym where the dads sit around in tweed jackets, smoking pipes and reading the Wall Street Journal with their monocles. Or not. I don’t know what goes on in parent’s row, because I’ve never been there.  In actuality, I always end up chasing the kids around, and playing with toys, and trying to make sure that they don’t hurt themselves by falling the wrong way down the climby things. It really is a good workout. Anyway, besides all that, while we were there, J, who had been sorta been walking previously, but  just in baby steps (taking a few steps on her own before desperately seeking something to grab onto for balance, that type of deal) saw the other babies there walking by themselves.  She succumbed to peer pressure, and spent the rest of the day walking on her own too.  Peer pressure, that’s what I’m talking about!

Also these conversations happened:
B – ‘Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news.’
Me – ‘What’s the good news?’
B (takes my hat) – ‘I found your hat!’
Me – ‘Thanks? What’s the bad news?’
B – ‘Woody’s not coming back.’
Who’s Woody??

Woody, where did you go?

Woody, where did you go?

 

Then later:
B – ‘Dad, you’re bad.’
Me – ‘What did I do??’
B – ‘You hit me!’
Me – ‘No I didn’t!’
B – ‘Yeah you did, last week!’
Me – ‘No I didn’t!!’
B – ‘Yeah, you pretend hit me last week!’
Argh! I never touch him,  and I don’t know what pretend hitting is.  You might have noticed that B has a pretty vivid imagination.  Luckily, no one heard this exchange either.  What’s up with that?  It’s like my kids enjoy making me uncomfortable.   I remember one time, B walked out to the porch while we were trying to get ready to leave, and started screaming ‘HELP!’ for no good reason.   Whatever. We left the play gym, and it was onto the next one, as Jay-z says.

While driving, we passed a husky looking boy with long hair and man bosoms:
B – ‘Why does that girl have a big tummy?’
Me – ‘Uhh….that’s a boy. Maybe he has a slow metabolism?’
Silence.
B – ‘I have a big tummy too! I eat a lot!’

We ended up going to an Early Years Centre.  These places are sweet. Government run centres where parents/caregivers can go take their kids, and there’s a bunch of activities and programs to take part in. And they’re free.  AND it’s crawling with professional, trained, child care people. Even a clueless dummy like can have a sense of calm that the kids will be OK.  As a way to get out and kill some time, it’s a nice option.  We went there, and the kids  were doing their thing. Playing with toys, messing around in the sand station, and so on. It was getting close to closing time, and of course B didn’t want to leave, and was being stubborn about it. Remember what I was saying about them making me uncomfortable? Yeah openly  and loudly disobeying me in public definitely qualifies.  Don’t you just love when you have to put on a show in front of other people, so you don’t look like a bad parent? And then, when it doesn’t work,  you just do whatever you can to curtail the situation instead? No? Maybe that’s just me then?

Actually, knock on wood, I haven’t yet been that person storming out of Walmart holding their screaming kid on their shoulder like a  2×4 piece of lumber (K on the other hand, that’s a different story).

Anyway, to get him to leave, I bribed him with the incentive that we’d go for treats if we left right then. He insisted on ice cream. Insisted.  So we went and got some.  He of course dozed off in the car after we got it,  because that is totally what you do when you’re excited for something, so I had to frantically monitor the melting ice cream situation while driving.  I wasn’t very unsuccessful. The steering wheel ended up pretty sticky.  We got  back to the house, and ate in the backyard, because it was such a nice day.  B got it all over his face and hands,  and started complaining that he was cold. His teeth started chattering, he started shaking like he’s a Polaroid picture.

Shaking like he's fliming a Harlem Shake video also would have worked as an analogy.

Shaking like he’s fliming a Harlem Shake video also would have worked as an analogy.

He dropped the ice cream, freaked out, cried hysterically.  Awesome.   Had to  go inside, change him,  and wrap him in a blanket.
Then:
B – ‘Now can I have my ice cream back?’
Sigh. You know,  after writing this,  maybe I take it back.

Sometimes spending lots of quality time together on my own with my maniacs can be pretty cool. I think what I fear the most now, though….is  for my sanity as B and J grow up.

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