Category: Super Fun Adventures

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.

Albert_Einstein_1947

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.

 

Bruno_Mars,_Las_Vegas_2010

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?

50_Cent_(Cropped)

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

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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!

Jordan_Knight_at_the_1990_Grammys

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:

 

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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.

Lazy Sunday

 

SNL_Digital_Shorts-title

 

One of the funniest things that I’ve seen on Saturday Night Live was the digital short “Lazy Sunday”, by the Lonely Island. Two guys rapping about the boring, kinda wack stuff that they do? Somehow, it’s hilarious, for real!   Along those lines, I realize now that kids can also turn the most mundane activities into memorable experiences. It’s cool, though, because that means that things are always interesting, for better or worse.

Usually worse.

I remember one Sunday afternoon maybe a year ago. Me and B were chillin’ like villians. Some quality dude time minus the girls. B wanted to play downstairs (his exact words: ‘I want to play cars downstairs. I want you to play cars with me downstairs. C’mon man, I love you!’), so off we went.

After playing for a while, I noticed B was hogging all the fun stuff. I guess that is one way to always be entertained, to horde all the cool toys. That did nothing for my interest level, however. So, I did what any bored parent would do in this situation – I started being a jerk and taking things from him while he was playing with them. B, being an unusually aware toddler, immediately caught on and smelled what I was cookin’:
B(reaches into pile, pulls out a balloon) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’ (I take the balloon and laugh.)
B – (pulls out a toy guitar) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’ (I take it and laugh again)
B (pulls out a zoo play thing) – ‘You swipe it?’
More swiping and laughing by me.
B (pulls out a toy baseball bat) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’
B- ‘No!! I swipe you first!’
He then wound up like Mark McGwire and cracked me in the head with the bat. If it was a ballgame, he would have had a homer, easy. Serves me right, though, for being a jerk.

Mark_mcgwire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stupid Poetic Justice!

Anyway, later, after my head stopped hurting, B suggested that we play hide and seek….except he didn’t actually know how to play it.

Me – ‘OK, turn around, count to ten. I’ll hide and you come find me!’
B (turns around, starts walking over to the couch) – ‘1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10!’ (He stands beside the couch, in the wide open) ‘Come find me!’
I try to explain how it works, then we try again:
Me – ‘OK, I’ll turn around, close my eyes and count to ten. Go hide and I’ll find you!’
I turn around and count. I turn back around, B hasn’t moved, but is smiling huge. He then walks over to the same spot beside the couch that he was at before:
B – ‘Come find me!’
Yeah, this wasn’t going well. So we did some walkthroughs and B sort of gets the hang of it. And then:
Me – ‘OK, I’ll go upstairs, count to ten, and come back down and find you!’
I leave, come back, I hear B giggling behind a curtain. Minus the giggling, not a bad spot, right? I pull the curtain back:
Me – ‘Found you…….wait, where are your pants!?’
B – ‘Hide and Seek!’
He took his pants off and hid them……beside the same spot by the couch that he was at before.
Like I said, it is always….interesting, for better or worse.

Usually worse.

hide

Any Given Sunday

 

B's ticket for the game.

B’s ticket for the game.

 

No doubt, one of the cool things about being a parent is exposing your children to those things that you enjoy. You devout a lot of attention to their interests and activities, so it’s fun to hang out with them every once in a while doing something that you like. Me? I like sports. Basketball, football and baseball mainly. I’ve been pretty excited since my kids’ births to be able to take them to some games with me.

Last year, an opportunity came up to go the last game at Ivor Wynne Stadium. The Hamilton Ticats (of the CFL) played there, and were moving into a brand new stadium that they were having built. Figured that it would be dope experience for B.

One day, I’m sure that he’ll thank for me for taking him…..not that day, though. .Here are the Sportscentre highlights:

Pre-Game: While holding his hand walking to our seats, his little hand started pulling mine to his face, and then to his nose. So I could pick his nose for him. Gross. I pull our hands down, we keep walking for a bit. Out of nowhere, some lady yells at us “His pants!” I look down, his pants are around his ankles. How long they were like that, no clue.

First Quarter: B is sort of into the game for about two minutes, then wants popcorn, and only wants popcorn. I give in, get us some. He tells me that he’s going to eat it all, and spends the rest of quarter hogging it.

Second Quarter: B wants to go home by now. However, he does ask me at one point why the game is stopped. I tell him there’s a timeout. In B’s world, a timeout means that you’ve done something bad, and you need to sit on the stairs or something. B is really interested as to the reason why the ‘football man’ got a timeout, and what he did to get it. I try to explain the different meaning to him, but he doesn’t get it. Even that night, hours later before bed, he asked me why the football man was bad. I gave up, just told him he gave another man an ‘ow boo boo’.

This ow boo boo would be timeout worthy.

This ow boo boo would be timeout worthy.

Third/Fourth Quarter: Treats and a noisemaker work for a bit, but B really wants to go home. Eventually he gives up asking. Then he decides in the pouring rain, freezing cold, and among like 20 something thousand screaming people, to curl up and go to sleep. Stays asleep until we leave.

Post-game: While walking out, he sees an ambulance. Starts freaking out excitedly at the ambulance. Later, when asked what his favorite part of the game was, he replied ‘the ambulance!’

We also thought that it be fun for him if we took the “Ticat Express” bus to and from the game. On the bus ride home, at every stop, he asked me why we had stopped, and I would give him the same answer (a red light). Finally, I get tired of him asking:

B – ‘Why are we stopped for?’

Me – ‘Why do you think we’re stopped?’

B – ‘Are cows are crossing the road?’

Me – ‘Uh, no, there aren’t any cows.’

Long silence….

B – ‘Are there goats?’

Guess I shouldn’t have asked.

 

Anyway at least the ambulance was memorable for him. He’ll thank me for that one day.

PANTS

Smashing Pumpkins

 

 

800px-Halloween

 

 

 

Do you ever like something, but have no clue why you like it?

Around Halloween last year, B randomly started using the word ‘favorite’. Thing was, I don’t know if he knew exactly what it meant. Driving him to daycare one morning made it seem like he was lovin’ life:

B (in his carseat while we pull into a Tim Horton’s drive-thru): ‘Look! A blue car! Blue is my favorite colour!’

Me – ‘Me too.’

B – ‘No! Your favorite colour is orange.’

Me – ‘Uhh, ok.’

B – ‘Heyyyy! What’s Shari’s car doing? That’s my favorite green car!’

I look around, and, yup, he spotted our old neighbour Shari’s car from across the parking lot.

B (now really excited) – ‘Look!!!! A black truck! What kind of truck is it?’

Me – ‘Uh, it’s a beat up old Dodge pickup truck.’

B – ‘That’s my favorite black truck! Look over there! That’s my favorite white car! What kind is it?’

Me – ‘A Sentra. Hey, What do you want to eat? A cinnamon bagel?’

B – ‘Yeah! That’s my favorite breakfast!!!’

I ordered and we drove to his daycare. Along the way he saw his favorite school bus and pretend-fed his favorite toy bear his bear’s favorite snack – celery and timbits (?!)

We got to daycare, and B noticed the pumpkins on the front steps:

B – ‘I’m just going to look at them!’

He took off, tripped going up a step, and smashed his face on a pumpkin.

Me – ‘Are you OK??’

B (rubbing his chin) – ‘I’m OK. Kiss my chin, daddy. That pumpkin is my favorite pumpkin!’

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