Now, how’s that for a captivating title? Pretty self-explanatory. Since today is Black Friday, I got three random parenting stories for y’all, for the price of, uh, none. Anyway, let’s get to it!
THE BIGGER PICTURE
I’ve talked on here before about how little kids should worry about little kid stuff, and not real world problems. This obviously isn’t always feasible or realistic, though, especially this year.
For example, the decision of whether to send children to school, or keep them home, has been/continues to be a contentious issue re: COVID-19. The thing is, though, there’s really no right or wrong answer. If you want to argue that the schools should be closed, OK. If you want to scream at me that they need to be open, alright. The arguments are equally valid, either way. Ultimately, we decided for sending B, J, and KJ to school. Everyone is doing the best that they can, to be as safe as possible, until the vaccines come.
it is what it is.
Speaking of that, ‘it is what it is’ was something that I used to say about racism, and systemic biases. I have been trying to question things more, however, and speak up where possible. I ordered a pizza for takeout a few weeks ago, for example. When I went to pick it up at the restaurant, I wasn’t allowed in, and was told to stand off to the side of their patio and wait. I was then ignored. Meanwhile, other people with lighter complexions (coincidentally or not) were allowed in, or had their orders brought to them. I had to start yelling to anyone in earshot about how ridiculous it was, before I was able to go get my food.
Old Mike probably would have just quietly fumed, assumed the place was openly prejudiced, never went there again, and left it at that. It is what it is. This time, though, I did speak up. I reached out to the restaurant, and told them what happened. They apologised, and offered several plausible explanations as to what went wrong that didn’t involve race, despite the weird optics of the situation.
And you know what?
That’s fine. This is one tiny example, but I think it illustrates my point. If things seem off, we should talk about them, instead of just accepting that they’re off.
B’s picked up on this as well, since the displays of civil unrest earlier this year started. We’ve had numerous frank discussions about racism, because he sees it, and understands it. Hopefully, other parents are doing the same. B did mention to me not long ago that a kid told him that Black Lives Matter was a bad thing, and black lives don’t matter as much, or something along those lines. So, as much as we talk about making changes, we clearly still have a ways to go.
photo credit: Dawn Kelly Photography
J, though, has nowhere to go, which bums her out. Eight months in (Nine months? A year? Who can keep track anymore?), and she will talk about going to the movies, or to a water park, or wherever. I’ll have to remind her that we can’t do that stuff. They aren’t open, sorry. It is what it is.
To J’s credit, she’s become really good at creating things to make up for the lack of adventures. The bigger picture, people!
Who needs to go to a coffee shop, when you can make a mini one :
Why go to a play gym, when you can build one out of boxes:
Great googly moogly! Homemade googly eyed glasses make everything more interesting:
Miss the beach? A little tape and Styrofoam will have you feeling like you’re wearing flip flops in the sand in no time:
You get the idea. Like everyone else, she’s just making the best of this crazy 2020.
photo credit: Dawn Kelly Photography
That right there, that’s the face of a stone cold bully! Err, allegedly a bully, anyway. You see, little KJ started kindergarten in September. As I noted earlier, K and I chose to send him to school. His class is comprised of junior and senior kindergarten students, with him being the youngest and smallest one there. By all accounts, things have been going alright. He’s understandably shy and quiet in this new environment, but he’s also polite and respectful.
So, of course, my lil man done went and kicked a boy UPSIDE the head.
Hey, chill out, people. It was an accident! Apparently, he and some other kids were being silly, and amidst the goofing around, KJ inadvertently kicked a boy when he was on the ground . The boy cried, and the teacher let us know what happened afterwards.
So, of course that boy went home and accused KJ of bullying him.
And that, unfortunately, was not an accident. Word on the street is that the mother took this allegation very seriously, obviously, and for good reason. Calls were made to the school, with her siding with her son in accusing KJ of being a bully.
Some context here is needed. The boy in question is in senior kindergarten. He is significantly bigger, advanced, and more outspoken than KJ. I mean, anything is possible, right?. There’s a chance that KJ has been shedding his meek, non-aggressive nature around this one boy only. Maybe KJ turns into a sneering, cigar chomping, gravelly voiced tough guy around this little fella in particular, to make his life miserable. Probably not, though.
Almost definitely not. It’s more likely that there is a misunderstanding about the definition of the word bullying.
KJ’s teacher did kibosh the accusations, to the mom. I’d like to think this incident is closed……
but I’m not so sure.
Word on the street also says that the mother has some serious influence around town, and can be unreasonable. If she still chooses to believe that her son is being bullied by KJ, she is the type who is not afraid to use her clout, and voice her opinions. We’ve all seen what happens when unreasonable people with bigger, advanced platforms who are outspoken start spreading untruths. If they say it enough times, other people will believe it, and the untruth becomes THE truth.
Is this now the face of someone who is going to get the label of the town bully?
Only time will tell, I guess.
40 IS THE NEW 60
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m coming up on the big 4-0 in a few months. And while this is not an old age, relatively speaking, my kids have somehow missed this memo. They keep trying to make me feel older than I really am!
KJ for, example, keeps insisting that I’m a “wittle bit” older than everyone in our family, including grandparents.
What my kids think I look like, probably.
B was telling me about a video that he was working on, where he named the best rappers by letter of the alphabet. When he got to J and K, I suggested two of my favorites – Jay-Z and Kanye West. He proceeded to tell me that he wanted new rappers, not ones from a long time ago. As if the 2000s and 2010s were some eras from ancient history. Kanye dropped a single a few weeks ago, for Pete’s sake!
The K spot went to Kendrick Lamar. A worthy selection, can’t hate.
J is a different story. She means well, but…..it still hurts, dude. She asked me if TVs were in black and white when I was little. On another occasion, she wondered if I was born in the 1940s. While playing in the snow the other day, her and KJ built a snow horse. I overheard her explaining to him that horses were what I used to ride when I was a kid. You know, since cars weren’t invented.
Basically, I feel like the oldest almost 40 year old guy in Canada these days, no lie. Or, as the kids say (I’m still hip!), no cap.
What’s poppin’! Unlike Jack Harlow, I don’t have a new whip to hop in. However, like Jack Harlow, I have spent a lot of time locked in. Well, figuratively speaking, because of COVID-19, and not having many places to go. Anyhoo, today we’re talking playground rules during these unique times.
You see, taking things step by step, day by day (word to the hilarious 90s sitcom!) has been replaced by taking things phase by phase. Here in Ontario, we are mostly in phase three presently, which includes the reopening of parks with play structures. This is great, in terms of stifling child boredom. My kids love themselves some playgrounds!
Having now made several trips to different parks throughout Hamilton, I’ve noticed some stuff, good and bad, on these outings. Consider these my playground rules and observations, to help make you make my, err, I mean your, next visit an enjoyable one!
I’M NOT CRAZY. YOU’RE CRAZY. OK, MAYBE WE BOTH AREN’T CRAZY.
During phase two, when playgrounds were closed, there were many a time when we’d pass one, and notice people ignoring the caution tape and warning signs to play on them. KJ and J would see this, and eagerly ask if parks were open again. They would be routinely disappointed with the answer. Those people who were breaking the rules were crazy, I’d think to myself. So risky!
For example, these people on the swings, bypassing the caution tape.
Flash forward to the present, when playgrounds are open. I’ve heard a lot about how it’s crazy to let kids play there, given how easy COVID-19 is spread. The touching of equipment, the close confines, the ease of snot and spit transfer, etc. These people could be right, of course.
Within reason, I’m fine with taking the calculated risk, approved by the government, and letting my kids play there. It’s all about your comfort level, I guess. Wherever you fall on that, it’s all good, my dudes.
FROM A DISTANCE
Now, according to the Ontario government’s framework, kids are supposed to maintain two metres between themselves at playgrounds, unless they’re from the same household/social circle. For KJ, his three year old mind doesn’t really grasp this concept. Or most concepts. For example, his concept of time revolves around his meals. 9:00am, 1:00pm,10:00pm, whatever, they mean nothing. Waking up means that it’s morning, because he gets a “good morning snack”. Lunch means that it’s afternoon. Dinner means that it’s almost bedtime. Bedtime means that it’s bedtime snack time. All in all, going to a park with him involves watching him closely, to monitor his social distancing.
J’s old enough to get it, though. And since she’s our dutiful rule follower, she’s quick to point out park-goers not obeying the rules. Our first park outing involved lots of scouting out different play structures before going to them, and her immediately relocating when someone got too close to her. When she noticed people not socially distancing, like five kids hanging out together on one swing, she reported back to me. If my little park narc had a whistle and clipboard to write down all the infractions, her day would have been made.
THE WALKING DEAD
I’m a pleasant fellow, usually. Word of warning, however: If I do see you at a park, I’m going to treat you like a zombie, and stay the heck away from you. If you cough, I will probably scream in terror. If you sneeze, I will probably take a giant leaping dive away from you, like how someone in an action movie jumps out of the way of an exploding building. Don’t take it personally. In fact, feel free to do the same to me. It’s just the new playground rules, baby. In these COVID-19 times, a little judgemental exaggeration and paranoia can go a long way.
I…..I dunno. Moving on.
WATCH OUT FOR THOSE PUSHY KIDS
One recent park outing started off so well. The playground was only populated with two other kids, which was perfect. When we arrived, one dad was on a bench, happily lost in his phone, as his daughter roamed freely. I should have known something was up when, as we approached, the other dad there urgently kept trying to get his daughter to leave. Frantically even, with a sense of panic. Finally, he was able to do it, and the two of them quickly took off. The dad said goodbye to the other girl there, by name (l’ll call her Pushy, to protect the innocent).
When we got to the park, J handed me her bag of toys, which I jammed in the backpack that I had. Her and KJ took off for the slides. Seeing them, Pushy came over and introduced herself. Closely. With zero regard for social distancing. She was five years old, and with her dad, I heard her remark. She wanted to play with them. J rolled her eyes, and said sure, doing her best to maintain some space. After a minute of Pushy following J and KJ around while spilling more details about her life, Pushy then came up to me, closely. She demanded to see J’s toys.
Sharing toys with some strange kid isn’t the best idea nowadays, so I nicely said nope, and that I was holding on to them, because they were special.
Pushy refused to take no for an answer!
She then asked J if she could see them. J heavily sighed, and agreed, so I pulled them out of the bag, and handed them to her. As J showed the toys to Pushy, KJ was hollering for me, so I wandered over to him. When I turned around, though, Pushy was now sitting with J, closely, holding all of J’s toys. J was cringing and motioning frantically for me to come back. Turns out that Pushy took the toys, and wanted to keep them. At this point, I realized why the other dad was so quick to leave before.
I got the toys back from Pushy. We then told Pushy that we had to leave, because we had to go get their brother (partially true, as B was having a basketball practise at a nearby court). As we hurried off, we all put on hand sanitizer, and I carried the toy bag delicately in front of me, like it contained a radioactive substance. We went to our car, where I proceeded to wipe the toys down with a combination of baby wipes and hand sanitizer. A bit extreme, I know.
I should note, unfortunately, that Pushy’s dad did not see any of this encounter, as he spent the whole time chuckling at his phone, never looking up #baddadstereotype. Regardless, parents, if your kids are overtly friendly, that’s cool. Maybe tell them to chill out on getting all up in strangers’ grills, though.
THE GAMES WE PLAY
As luck would have it, B had a baseball practise the next day, which meant another playground outing for J and KJ, at a completely different park. This park was also lightly populated, which was nice. After a good amount of time on the play structures, with frequent breaks to clean their hands, they decided to play “family”.
In this family, J was a single mother (Yes, J said this loudly, which caused the moms nearby to do double takes). She was at the park with her son.
And who was I, you ask?
I was not part of the family. I was a stranger (yes, J said this loudly, too, which I had to loudly reply that I wasn’t some random stranger, I was their dad. It’s 2020, and you never know when a Karen might strike, right?). Their game then started. J played with her son KJ on a spinning ride thing. She then walked off to take a pretend phone call, leaving KJ with me. KJ proceeded to yell that I wasn’t his uncle. No clue why. J then came back mad, wondering who this stranger was talking to her son.
Yeah, you know what sucks?
Any game in public that involves your kids acting like they don’t know you, and treating you like some random creep!
I kiboshed that game, and I don’t recommend that you play it on your next playground adventure, either.
OK, let’s kibosh this post now, too. Until the next one, peace!
Hey, all you cool cats and kittens! When I last gave y’all an update, my family was still adjusting to that quarantine life. I was also still adjusting to working from home with kids, too. Since that time in early April, a lot has changed. With these changes comes lots of free time to analyse them. Or, in this case, blog about them. Random musings start……NOW!
WORKING FROM HOME WITH KIDS
We’ve settled into a workable routine, on this front. I’ve been fortunate enough to remain employed, so I do my work upstairs at a table by the window. With no door, my space is the definition of ‘open door policy’, which my fam takes advantage of. Luckily, this hasn’t affected my job too much. I mean , only one client on the phone has heard little KJ screaming “Daddy! I POOPED!” in the background, anyway.
Back in the early days of self isolation, there was still a hope here in Ontario that schools might open up before the end of June. This all changed recently, though, when the government announced that schools will be closed for the duration of the year. K, who is a teacher, has seen her job responsibilities change lately, with a greater emphasis on distance learning. So between her work, and mine, plus B, J and KJ, it’s a juggling act, for real. Speaking of which…..
TEACHING THE KIDS AT HOME
B and J both have daily curriculum distant learning requirements. I don’t know about your kids, but getting these two to do even the bare minimum is a regular struggle. Dragging them away from their devices to do just an hour of school work is the parenting equivalent of playing Pac Man. They zip around the house, gobbling up screen time, but as soon as they see K and I with assignments, they immediately take off in opposite directions.
I could learn a thing or two from your kids!
Even if we track them down, they still make excuses to not do their work. Oh, the excuses! The other day, B looked at a project, and told me that he couldn’t do it, because it would take 24 minutes, and his arm would get sore from writing for that long. This is the same active kid who will shoot hundreds of shots on the mini basketball net in his room . The same kid who sits in the same position for long periods playing video games. Maybe if he thought that it would have taken 23 minutes, then he would have done it?
Toddler quarantine life, PART UNO
With toddlers, routine is key. KJ’s life used to consist of waking up early, and me getting him ready to take him to his daycare. He spends the day there, hangs with other children, gets picked up by K later, comes home, does dinner, then eases into his bedtime routine.
In quarantine life, now that we are working from home with kids, his routine has been blown up. KJ is now the type who will wake up at 10:30am, ask if it’s breakfast time or lunch, and get mad when he can’t have a Popsicle and garlic knot to eat. He’s the type who doesn’t nap anymore, and doesn’t understand why he can’t take a toy boat that’s bigger than him to bed, when he’s tired. He’s the type who will happily sit around almost naked all day.
I can’t blame the poor kid. Think about it. What if you couldn’t tell time, had zero responsibilities, and were completely dependent on someone else to provide for you?
What would you do?
Shoot, you’d probably sit around in your underwear , confused, wondering why you can’t eat garlic knots for breakfast, too!
TODDLER quarantine life, PART DEUCES
KJ does not have any peers his age, to interact with. B and J do try to entertain him, but the age gaps between them makes it hard. As such, KJ is usually left to his own imagination, to amuse himself. Mr Sun is now his good friend, for instance.
It’s literally the sun.
I’ll also do the honors on a daily basis, and try to play with him. Man, if I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – never underestimate the imagination of a child.
KJ came up with this one game for us to play recently. Him and I were firefighters. We lived at the firehouse with our baby. I don’t know how we became parents to this kid, but bear with me.
We would then get an emergency call and have to go rushing to a room in the house, to deal with it. Did I mention that we had superpowers, too? And that we had to stop villains, in addition to putting out fires or rescuing people?
THEN, when we were done solving the emergency, we would come back to the fire house, but our baby was missing! So, we would have to try to find him in the house, as well.
This game went on for like two hours. Every nuance and plot twist was his idea. It was basically the best/worst action movie that I could think of. Quentin Tarentino would be proud.
I’m not proud, Mike.
THE ENCINO MAN EFFECT
Remember that movie Encino Man? A caveman gets unfrozen in the modern age, and early 90s, Pauly Shore-led hilarity ensues? Working at home with kids and living the quarantine life got me pondering this analogy.
What if I was frozen in January, and unfrozen last month? It would have been a huge culture shock, correct? The city would have been like a ghost town. Few cars on the streets. Most stores closed. Rec centres, movie theatres and other fun stuff closed. No sports to watch. Long lineups to get into grocery stores. Not many people out and about. Something called Zoom would be my go to app.
Ontario recently started to loosen up some of the stay home restrictions, in phases. We are currently in the early stages of this, proceeding with caution. The funny (not funny) thing is, though, if I was unfrozen today……it wouldn’t be such a culture shock.
In my part of Hamilton, Ontario, anyway, there is a lot more normalcy around town. Large gatherings of people hanging out shoulder to shoulder in their driveways. Groups of neighborhood children playing together. Teen friends shooting hoops. Drive-by birthday parties have become full-on birthday parties. I go by the nearby school (still closed), and the parking lot is half full of cars and people.
It makes me wonder…..is all of this too much, too soon? Should more responsibility be taken, in following the stay home recommendations? Or are we at the point where-stir craziness and mental well-being wins out over worrying about getting the coronavirus? Is the worst really behind us? I don’t know, man. All I know is that if I was frozen today, and unfrozen six months later, and I find out that we’re still dealing with second or third, or more, waves of outbreaks around here, I won’t be shocked.
I really hope not, though.
MIKE VS TICKETMASTER
On February 18, I bought tickets on Ticketmaster for J and I to go to a NBA G-League game, for $18.10. Toronto Raptors 905 vs. Capital City Go-Go game, March 24.
Weeks later, when things on the ol’ social calendar started to be crossed off due to coronavirus concerns, this was one of them. The G League suspended the season indefinitely on March 12. As of this writing, it has not resumed operations. J and mine’s game was obviously not played.
I don’t know about you, but with life slowed down these days, looking into stuff more carefully has become a habit. A few weeks after the non-game, I found it odd that I hadn’t received any communication from Ticketmaster about a refund. I thought, from reading their policy before, that postponed/suspended events qualified for refunds. When I looked on Ticketmaster’s website at the time, however, the policy only referenced refunds for cancelled events.
I tried calling Ticketmaster for clarification, but after being on hold for a long time, I got disconnected. A quick look on the old Google machine, however, revealed that I wasn’t suffering from the Mandela Effect about misremembering the refunds. According to numerousarticles, amidst the abundance of events being shelved because of the COVID-19 crisis, Ticketmaster quietly changed the wording of their policy. “Refunds are available if your event is postponed, rescheduled, or cancelled” apparently became “Refunds are available if your event is cancelled.”
Our non-game currently has a status of TBD, in terms of a date.
Since it hasn’t been cancelled (even though the likelihood of fan-attended games for any sport, any soon isn’t realistic), I’m out of luck for getting my $18.10 back. And look, I get it.
It’s only like twenty bucks, what’s the big deal? STOP COMPLAINING.
I’m sure that life at Ticketmaster the last few months must be pure chaos. To their credit, due to the backlash, they have tweaked their refund policy. It kind of gives the event organizer more discretion in terms of giving refunds or not. So, in my case, I gotta wait on the G League to decide, as well.
While it’s only $18.10 for me, what if I had spent $181.10 per ticket, to see the Toronto Raptors play, and this was the case? What if I dropped $500 for concert tickets, only for the show to be rescheduled for an unknown date? What if, instead of working from home with kids, I lost my job and needed the cash back? A lot of money is being held up right now by Ticketmaster. It’s understandable, given the uncertain economic climate….yet it still doesn’t seem right.
What does seem right, however, is wrapping this post up. Stay safe out there. Until the next one, peace!
We are currently living through extraordinary, catastrophic times, man. Not only that, but one of the worst parts about this COVID-19 novel coronavirus story is that we don’t know the ending. Will it be happy, like the end of the TV show Friends? Or will it be disappointingly infuriating, like the end of the TV show Dexter? Who knows, dude. Until then, all that we can do is cross our fingers, and adjust our lives around the terms that have become part of our vernacular lately. Self-isolation. Self-quarantine. #stayhome. Social distancing. Flatten the curve. The new normal.
The new normal.
Like you, my family’s daily routines have been completely overhauled, in our attempts to ride this out and not get sick. How’s that you going, you ask? Well……
In the economic game of musical chairs, I currently am still working at my day job, but just from home. Because of societal musical chairs, public gatherings of five people or more are currently prohibited in Ontario. As such, the kids and K (who’s a teacher) are also home. And, in all honesty, it’s all good. Doom and gloom aside, it’s nice to hang out with the fam more.
With nowhere to go, it’s led to creative ways to entertain ourselves. There’s an increase in puzzles, board games, instrument learning and streaming services in our house. J is taking to making pictures of me, for unknown reasons, too Here’s a painting that she drew, of yours truly:
I asked her why I’m yellow, and she said that it was because she didn’t have any brown.
Hue problem aside, it’s not bad. Unlike this one, though:
She discreetly took a picture of me, to make a Nintendo “Mii”. Yes, I realize that my Mii resembles a digital, pink-lipped Sherman Helmsley. And yes, I realize that I look like Keenan Thompson from Saturday Night Live in the picture.
YOU WISHED THAT YOU LOOKED THIS GOOD, MIKE!
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
I’ve talked on here before about the continued development of little KJ. With his daycare closed, he’s home, and makes frequent visits to my workspace during the day. Sometimes, it’s just to chit chat about whatever is on his three year old mind. We’ve discussed career ambitions (“Daddy! When my grow up, my want to be a butterfly!”), dietary habits (“Daddy, if my eat carrots, I’ll be bigger!” *eats carrots* “See, mine this big now” *holds arms out as wide as he can*), and family history (“Daddy! When my brudder and sister were in my mommy’s tummy, my was older, too. My wasn’t scared!”).
Sometimes, he requires my assistance. For instance, he dictated a story to me once, and had me draw it out for him:
The Joker. What a jerk.
And sometimes, he just wants to chill out with me:
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work at home with kids….it’s this.
With B being our oldest, he gets what’s going on the most. He’s been the most affected by it, as well. His life, like many 10 year olds, revolves around sports, school, and video games. Two of those three have been removed from the equation. As a result, he has leaned heavily into his one remaining old normal avenue, in these times of the new normal.
For real, I don’t mind the gaming. If he can’t physically talk to, and play with, his buddies, doing so virtually is better than nothing. The problem is trying to get him off to do something else…..when there isn’t much else to do. Many a time of me yelling at him to go outside, for some exercise, is usually met with “BUT I’M PLAYING WITH MY FRIENDS!”.
If B had his way, he would probably disappear into the basement at the break of dawn, play games all day, and emerge at night, red-eyed, with a five o’ clock shadow. OK, I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea.
you gon’ learn today!
It’s not all fun and games. K and I have been doing some homeschooling, and (more recently since the curriculum was just launched in Ontario as of this writing) online learning, as well. It’s…..going. I’d like to say that, with so much free time, B and J are eager, model students, thirsty for knowledge from bottomless learning cups provided by their parents.
I’d also like to say that my dad bod stomach has turned into a six pack.
Neither of these statements are true.
Remember that episode of The Simpsons, where Bart breaks his leg, and, while recovering in his bedroom, starts to get the wrong idea that his neighbour was a murderer? I’m not saying my neighbours are killers, don’t get it twisted. However, my workspace is by a window, which leads to occasionally peeking out of it. There’s such a monotony of joggers, family bike rides and dog walkers passing by during the day, that anything else has my mind playin’ tricks on me.
A Purolator truck with a big package? Exciting! I wonder what they ordered!
A husband leaves his home, then hours later, another man in a van pulls up, and goes into the house with a toolbox. Service call by the wife? Or something else? Ooooooh, scandalous!!!
Shoot, my one neighbour wasn’t quick on picking up their bins on garbage day, and I was seriously considering contacting the police about a house call, to see if they were alright.
The old me wouldn’t have noticed any of this stuff. Why does the new normal involve me being a nosy neighbour?!
I know what you’re thinking.
“But Mike, what about your family’s toilet paper situation?”
OK, you probably weren’t thinking that, but the answer is…….we good.
See, being on the outskirts of Hamilton means everything is a drive. Let’s say that I need to pick up some toilet paper, eggs and milk. My options that are up to a 20ish minute trip away include Freshco (x3), Fortinos (x2), Walmart (x2), Costco (x2), Real Canadian Superstore, Food Basics, No Frills (x2), Lococo’s, Zarky’s, Sobey’s, Metro, Shopper’s Drug Mart (x too many to count), and Foodland. Plus, Amazon Prime has a program where they will send you the same products every month recurring…..and we’re signed up for that, to receive toilet paper.
Hoarders be hoarding, cool. But in our case, with so many options at our disposal, we have been able to get by fine, so far. Just don’t get any ideas about stealing my limited supply, though, please, if the hoarders turn out to be right.
Y’all dancing on TikTok to combat boredom, while I’m taking tough guy selfies with a chain to combat would-be TP thieves. We’ll see who wipes, I mean, laughs, last!
The old normal seems like a distant memory already. We have gone from looking at Wuhan, and thinking that there’s no way what happened there could happen here, to looking at the new normal and thinking if what used to happen here will ever happen again. Stay safe and smart, folks.
Today’s post is brought to you by the number three. You see, three is a big time number in our house, especially recently, as our third child, KJ, recently turned three years old! Since having a third child, we have been regularly asked three questions:
You have three kids?! This is always asked in a shocked voice, by anyone who has less than three children.
When are you having more? In my head, I follow up by giving the person a crisp slap to the face, for asking such a bananas question. In reality, I just laugh it off.
So who is the third kid most like?
Now this. This is a thinker. As KJ entered into the threes, he really has developed his own personality, to say the least. For example:
Despite not living at a nudist resort, or coming from a family of exhibitionists, KJ loves to not wear any clothes. On a typical evening, I’ll come home from work, and find him in nothing but a diaper, looking like Mowgli from The Jungle Book.
You might be thinking “But that’s cute, Mike. What’s the big deal?”. And sometimes, it is cute. Conversely, sometimes, when I’m trying to get him ready to go to daycare in the morning, and he’s refusing to get dressed, it’s not so cute. There are some things that you just can’t force someone to do. As a fun family game tonight, ask your kids to put a shirt and a pair of pants on you, but make this as humanly difficult as possible on them. You’d be surprised at the number of ways that there are to accomplish this. You’ll win every time! Anyway, I’ve loaded KJ’s diaper-only clad butt in my car on more than one occasion (because he wins every time). That, my dudes, ain’t so cute.
This happened, too, not long ago:
That right there is KJ standing shoeless on a busy winter afternoon in downtown Toronto. If you’ve never done this before….I don’t recommend it.
enunciation IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
KJ’s vocab game is ever-improving. His pronunciation and sentence-making skills are coming along, too. He still has his moments, though. For instance, I took him with me to J’s basketball recently, and we had this conversation while sitting on the sidelines:
KJ – You made me crap!
Me (looking around nervously, to see if anyone else heard) – What did I do?!
KJ (louder) – You made me crap! With your legs!
Me (stunned silence)
KJ – Crap me with your legs! Now!
At this point, I had no idea what he was talking about, so I just sat there with my legs spread. He then crawled between them, and pulled them together, so they were closed around him.
KJ – See? Crap!
I then realized that he meant to say trap. No bowel-moving maneuvers needed.
FICKLE, FICKLE, FICKLE!
When KJ is unhappy, we understand him loud and clear, because he will articulate his feelings loudly and clearly. In his little world, the most petty things tick him off. He’ll look at me pouting, and say “Dad, I’m so mad at you.” The reasons for the rage have ranged from understandable ones, like he didn’t want to stop watching his tablet, to irrational ones, like he didn’t love the voices that I made for the toys we were playing with, or he wanted two ice cubes in his sippy cup, but I only gave him one.
A CAREER IN COMEDY DOESN’T SEEM PROMISING
KJ – Knock knock.
Me – Who’s there?
KJ – My dad is so nice!
Me – My dad is so nice who?
KJ – My dad is so nice because he is nice.
And that was the joke.
He also thinks it’s hilarious to pinch my nose and ask if I’m Batman.
*tumbleweed blows by*
OK. This is pretty funny. When’s the next open mic night?
KJ’s perception of me has changed as he’s entered into the threes, as well. For some reason, he thinks our bedroom closet is my “room”, as if I go there every night, and curl up on a shelf to sleep, snuggled up in Drake shirts, with In My Feelings as my lullaby.
Furthermore, before, he thought this WWE action figure was me:
Professional wrestler Shelton Benjamin. Big, strong, muscular, handsome. I’ll take it!
Lately, though, he has called me this:
A half completed, goofy Mr. Potato Head?! I’m a bit of a hesi-tater when it comes to an una-peel-ing comparison!
A broken, ancient toy car? I’m not as young or as fast as I used to be, but c’mon!
If I were a firefighter, it wouldn’t be so bad. However, I am not. When I told this to J, she asked if I liked black shoes (sure?) and flashlights (I guess?). She then shrugged and said “close enough”.
So who is KJ most alike in our family? The answer can be summed up in three words:
Now, if you’re over the age of 25, this may or may not mean anything to you. However, if you have kids under the age of 25, especially teenaged ones or younger, it should mean something to you. I am by no means a TikTok expert (TikTokspert?). However, I have had some experiences with it, courtesy of my son B, who’s currently 10 years old. Since I’ve talked to other parents who don’t know squat about TikTok, I figured that I’d share my limited knowledge in the form of a parent’s guide to TikTok. Let’s do this, FAQ- style!
I love Ke$ha! Tik Tok is my jam!
Sorry, person-older-than-TikTok’s-main-demographic. I’m not talking about that classic song.
That’s a lot of people waking up feeling like P. Diddy! What is TikTok, exactly?
Still not talking about the Ke$ha song, dude. Anyway, TikTok is an app from China, where users can upload short form videos and share them on the network. The videos are usually only a few seconds long and musically oriented. Lots of lip-syncing, dancing, singing, and random clips set to songs are what you can expect to find on it. Plenty of memes and challenges, too. You know how you saw Ellen dancing to Old Town Road by Lil Nas X, and you pretended to know the song, when you really hadn’t heard it before?
I remember that day well.
A big part of that song’s initial popularity was because of how it blew up on TikTok, by people using it in their videos.
So TikTok iS like YouTube for people who can’t be bothered to watch videos longer than a minute long?? No wonder kids like it.
Not exactly. But yeah, kids do seem to love this app. Some of the stuff on there is pretty entertaining. Plus, with all the silly filters and effects available when creating the videos, it’s a fun way to flash some creativity.
Sounds awesome! I’m going to sign my seven year old up for it ASAP!
Hey slow down, pal. TikTok has a minimum age requirement of 13 years old.
But you signed your 10 year old up for it!
We did, and, in retrospect, it was a mistake. The first time that B had an account, it was because a lot of his schoolmates were on it, and he had a case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out. I’m down with that Gen Z lingo, too, sometimes. Not really). One thing with TikTok is that, unless you change the settings, anything you upload can be seen by anyone. K and I let B have an account, and monitored what he was posting, but not as closely as we should have. It’s easy, especially if you’re young and impressionable, to get caught up in likes/followers/comments chasing. Long story short, in most likely an effort to impress his friends, B posted some stuff that was reckless, embarrassing and inappropriate for a child of his age, so we deleted his account.
Did you say the first time?! You mean you let him have an account after this?
Sigh. Yes, we did. We thought B had learned his lesson, and was going to be more responsible. So, like his fondness for Fortnite, we gave him another chance. And, for a while, he was OK. His videos were mostly just self-made highlight reels of him playing basketball in his room, set to non-explicit songs. I mentioned before that TikTok is a social app, and another aspect to that is the ability to direct message people. Yes, you can slide into DMs (more Gen Z lingo!) on TikTok. Anyway, long story short again, but more recklessness happened. For example, he sneakily pulled an all-nighter one Wednesday night, to screw around on TikTok (with predictable sleep-deprived results the next day). He also posted a video in which he was lucky to have not resulted in more serious ramifications than it did. Because of those, and some other incidents, we deleted his new account, for good this time.
And the award for “Parents Of The Year” goes to.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We screwed up. Every kid is different, right? You want to instil a sense of trust and responsibility in your children, and when it doesn’t work out, it sucks. On the surface, most social media has lots of redeeming qualities, like the positive interaction with your peers. Beneath that, though, sometimes, lies a toxic, addictive cesspool.
Daaaaang, Gina! Tell us how you really feel.
I’m just sayin’, you can’t be too careful when it comes to monitoring your kids’ TikTok usage. For instance, it’s all username based, unlike Facebook or Instagram. Say your friend is named Tyrone Biggums, and you want to follow him on TikTok. You can’t just search up Tyrone Biggums. He might have changed his username to AshyLarry or something. It really does take some effort to find your friends.
I remember B showing me a video that a girl at his school had made, which was pointless and dumb, but had a lot of likes. I quickly looked at her account, and all her videos were in the same vain, but she had, relatively speaking, a lot of followers. When I thought of how ‘out there’ she was, how anyone with or without an account could watch her videos, and how fairly anonymous most of her followers could have been, it made me wonder. Who exactly was following this little girl and why? How many of these people were trying to slide into her DMs?
Is TikTok SAFE FOR KIDS, OR IS IT full of creepy perverts?!?
I….I don’t know. I’m also just a dad with a blog with limited experience with this app. I’m guessing, at the very least, it has the same ratio of normal people to predatory creeps as anything else online, but it’s impossible to know for sure.
Besides monitoring, is there anything else that I can do to protect my child on TikTok?
To their credit, TikTok does have numerous parental controls and privacy measures available, which can help you in this regard. It’s also a great idea to talk to them about cyberbullying, and about making smart choices online.
You’ve said a lot, but I still don’t get TikTok, or its appeal. I’m too old for this app.
Nice self awareness. While you don’t have to like it, you should get used to it, as, data breach controversy aside, TikTok most likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Shoot, like all cool, hip things of the moment, more and more businesses are jumping on the TikTok bandwagon too, as a way to build brand awareness. If you really want to win brownie points at your work, tell your boss that you want to open and run your company’s TikTok account.
Well, if you want to win brownie points, you know what to do.
Just do it. c’MON. We’re about done here anyway.
Fine, here you go. And happy TikToking. Be safe out there, folks:
Believe it or not, I’m Canadian…but I hate the winter. Some people love dealing with that cold, numbing feeling of the wind chill hitting your face. I’m not one of them. Escaping potential frostbite to go somewhere warm and sunny isn’t really in the cards, either. Luckily, however, there are places not far from me (or anyone else in the Greater Toronto Area) to temporarily get away for some summer-like fun. Places like Splash Lagoon in Erie, PA!
What is Splash Lagoon in erie pa?
Splash Lagoon is an indoor, Polynesian-themed waterpark, located in Erie, PA. At 80,000 square feet, it’s one of the biggest indoor waterparks in the USA. It’s full of aquatic activities (and more) for people of all ages, set to a tropical theme/design.
Erie, Pennsylvania is located about two hours southwest from the Niagara Falls border (or the comparable indoor waterpark to Splash Lagoon in Niagara, Great Wolf Lodge). This worked out to a three hour drive for us. When travelling with three small kids, this is about as good as it gets, time-wise, for a road trip. It’s almost doable in one drive, without having to stop for bathroom breaks. Also, you can schedule it so that you can hit the road after a meal at home, negating the need to stop for food along the way. Just throw on The Irishman for them to watch, and by the time that it’s almost over, you’ll be there (note: that was joke. I do not advise showing The Irishman to little children).
staying there – SPLASH LAGOON ERIE PA
I mentioned Great Wolf Lodge earlier, because that is more of the go-to waterpark destination, for families in my region. My family has stayed at Great Wolf Lodge several times before. I will say that Splash Lagoon is different, but in a good way.
The experience at Great Wolf Lodge is pretty immersive. Everything at the resort, from the hotel rooms on-site, to the waterpark, to the decor, to the games and restaurants, all have the same kind of nature-y, rustic theme. The thing is, though, that you really pay for the immersiveness, as an overnight visit can be quite pricey. You also can’t easily obtain day passes only, to visit the park. If you want to get your swim on, you gotta get your sleep on there, too.
Splash Lagoon, on the other hand, is its own standalone place. However, it has three hotels connected to it: Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn and Hawthorn Inn & Suites. These have stay and play package deals which include passes to Splash Lagoon. The good thing about these, of course, is that you can stroll from your hotel room to Splash Lagoon in just your Speedo, without having to set foot outside in the frosty winter elements (note: that was a joke. I do not condone unwanted Speedo strolls. Think of the kids, people). If these don’t float your boat, a few of the nearby hotels also offer overnight package deals, and include a shuttle service Splash Lagoon, too. Then, if none of these are appealing for whatever reason, you are able to just buy day passes to Splash Lagoon, and stay somewhere else .
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Erie PA, which is the closest hotel, proximity-wise, to Splash Lagoon. Our stay was complimentary, but the rates online for a stay package were more affordably priced than Great Wolf Lodge. Our room was suitably clean and tidy. Breakfast was included, too. With a family of five, anytime that you have one less meal to worry about is always nice.
One more thing. The Peace Bridge Duty Free store, near the Canadian border, also promotes Splash Lagoon overnight deals, that seemed to be very reasonable, so keep an eye out there, too, when booking a stay.
playing there (water)
Alright, now let’s get to the wet and wild stuff! Over two days, my family experienced almost every attraction. Instead of a typical Splash Lagoon review, though, I’ll break them down for you, by age appeal and appropriateness. And yes, Splash Lagoon does have life jackets on-site, don’t worry.
For KJ Sized kids (re: babies and little kids)
Monkey Shines Island
This play area is in a shallow pool, with seven small slides scattered around it, which have a 48″ maximum height requirement. KJ could go down these by himself, but I still had to hang out at the bottom, to catch him. Some parents took their kids down them on their laps, as an option. There’s also a tipping bucket in this area, and “showers”, as KJ called them.
Adventure Bay is a big pool with basketball nets and balls, along with lily pads to jump on (which were off limits when we were there). While more suited for all ages, little kids can still have fun here, in life jackets, with parents nearby, I think. B and J both commented that the water was colder in Adventure Bay than other areas of the park. Hoops-loving B could have stayed there the whole time, regardless, challenging random kids to one on one games, like he was at the aquatic version of Rucker Park.
Wild Water Waves Pool
Billed as “the largest indoor wave pool in the Eastern United States”, Wild Water Waves Pool was a hit with my fam. Again, while more suited for all ages, KJ did enjoy bobbing up and down on the waves, some of which got pretty big!
Underwater selfies in a wave pool are hard!
The Frog Pond
The Frog Pond is an area with a whirlpool for the family to relax in, and leapfrog fountains for little kids to splash around on. It’s kind of tucked away in a corner, behind the Tree Tops Ropes Course. Not gonna lie, because we didn’t try the ropes course, I didn’t notice the Frog Pond, so we never went in it. #planningfail
The Lava Pool
This is a small pool, with “lava” for kids to play in. Again, not gonna lie, I assumed that it was a hot tub, and didn’t stop to go in. J checked it out, though, with K, and reported back, in her words “the water was not deep, and it was hot, and there were benches nearby, and it was relaxing.”
For B and J SIZED kids (re: big kids)
Tiki Tree House
This is located in the middle of Splash Lagoon, and is a featured attraction. It’s four stories high, with activities like water cannons, and a giant tipping bucket. I’m not sure why, but the Tiki Tree House didn’t seem as functional as it probably normally is, during our stay. If fully operational, it appears to be a blast, but I can’t vouch for it, based on our experience.
The Lazy River
This is just as it sounds. Grab a tube, alone or with your kid, and lazily float around the river. It’s a decent size, so you can do a few laps without taking up too much time. Minimal congestion, too, which is sometimes an issue with these things.
WARNING: if you have a mischievous daughter like mine, she will probably steer you towards the waterfall, where you will get splashed worse than a basketball net after a Steph Curry versus Klay Thompson three point contest. I suggest singing the chorus to TLC’s ‘Wateralls’ to alleviate any potential soaking (note: that was a joke. You should obviously sing TLC’s Creep, instead).
Thumbs up to TLC song references outta nowhere!
This is a big, curvy water slide that actually goes outside for part of it. It’s for single or double riders with a tube, with a minimum 36″ height requirement. Children 36″-42″ tall, like J, had to slide with an adult, though.
Python Plunge is similar in thrillness to the Big Kahuna. It has the same restrictions and tube requirement, too (though this one is a lot of fun with two riders).
This is a single person body slide, minimum 36″ height requirement. It feels like you’re going pretty fast, and it’s another slide that takes you outside for part of it. The lineup for this water slide was a bit confusing. It’s located beside the Big Kahuna, and I noticed a lot of people standing in the line for that because they didn’t realize that the line for Shark Attack was separate. In B and I’s case, we made that mistake initially before noticing, once we got to the top, that there weren’t actually any people in line for Shark Attack, so we went right on.
This was J’s personal favorite. From the top of the Tiki Tree House, the whole water slide is in complete darkness. Single riders only, no tube, minimum height requirement of 36″.
Maui Wowie is a bit of a quickie single rider slide, no tube. It shoots you down and around the sharp, sudden turns pretty fast. 36″ height requirement.
B’s fav because, in part, of the toilet bowl effect of going round and round before being flushed out into a pool below. For single or double riders with a tube, with a minimum 36″ height requirement. Children 36″-42″ tall gotta ride with a grownup.
This is like the Cyclone, if the Cyclone was on Red Bull energy drinks. A bit more extreme, as it’s for tubeless single riders, which means you go faster, and end up in a deep pool. For people 48″ and up, who are strong enough swimmers to swim out of the deep pool at the end.
for DA GROWNUPS
There’s a bar upstairs called Island Oasis Bar.
Stay thirsty, my friends.
extra playing there at splash lagoon
All of the above attractions are included in your day pass admission. If you want to spend a few more bucks, Splash Lagoon in Erie PA has some other fun ways to take your money. The aforementioned Tree Tops Ropes Course, for example, costs $7 per person. It’s three stories high, of various climbing challenges, for kids and adults (36″ and taller). $7 will also get you a spin on the Aqua Tumbler, a giant inflatable ball that loops you around and shoots water at you while you’re in it.
Upstairs from the park is an arcade. It has a decent selection of games, with the usual selection of prizes to be won when winning tokens at said games. One unique feature, though, was the Hologate Virtual Reality game, which cost $8/person, and looked pretty interesting.
If you’re like my family, you can expect to spend $20 at the arcade, for the joy of watching your kids win about $1 worth of tokens, which they will then argue about because they want to each cash it in for a different toy. B played one of those claw pickup games, and somehow ended up winning so much candy that even Milton Hershey would have been like “dang, homey”.
Spoiler: We did not win 100 tickets on this spin.
During our trip, The FlowRider, a wave simulation ride similar to ones seen at other theme parks, was not operational.
Outside food is a no go at Splash Lagoon. However, there is a restaurant on site called Laguna Grill. It serves the expected theme park foods like burgers, pizza and chicken fingers. One kind of odd thing was the ice cream stand. It’s nearby to the Laguna Grill, but to order a cone, you have to place the order at Laguna Grill, and then go to the stand to get your order. However, there was never anyone working at the stand, so you had to wait for someone who wasn’t busy at the grill to come over to scoop your order. K and the kids actually waited a half hour for an order that we placed (it was really good ice cream, admittedly, and almost worth the wait).
Hooch and Blotto’s Sports Bar& Grill is also connected to Splash Lagoon, and it’s a great place to go for a change of pace of the waterpark. While we didn’t partake in any food, the menu was pretty tasty looking. There was nice selection of craft beers featured, which I may have had one or two of. We did hit hit up the lanes there one night, to play some bowling. No shoe rentals required, and small balls with bumpers in the lanes available, so it was very kid-friendly. At the end, though, you might leave the prohibition-themed restaurant with the same thing on your mind as B did: what’s with all the moustaches?
Beyond these options, there are several restaurants a couple of minute’s drive away. Because, as I have noted before on here, we are kind of suckers for chains that aren’t near us, we went to Applebee’s one evening. It was delicious. Come to Hamilton, Ontario, Applebee’s. Sheesh.
Who goes to Applebee’s with their family and takes a picture of his oversized drink? This guy.
this, that and there
Some closing points about Splash Lagoon in Erie PA. Staying at the Holiday Inn Express did allow us to walk back and forth to the waterpark and our room swim-ready. However, I did duck my head into the change room on hand, and it looked really clean. The closeness also meant that we could just leave our stuff in the room. Otherwise, a locker might have been needed, which are available on the premise, for various prices. As an option, there was lots of tables and seating around, which people would claim by leaving their stuff on.
Towels, unfortunately, are not available, unless you want to buy them at the Surf Shop store upstairs, so you gotta bring your own.
Parking is free.
In terms of staff, everyone that I encountered was friendly, and helpful. There were plenty of lifeguards on hand, too, at every attraction.
getting out AND ABOUT there in erie pa
I mentioned above about doing other stuff as a change of pace to Splash Lagoon. In terms of things to do in Erie,PA, it is a nice little city, with some cool options to keep you and your family busy, if you want to take a break from the water.
I loves me a good children’s museum (yes, even more so than my kids sometimes), so I, uh I mean we, really liked The expERIEnce Children’s Museum. Located about 10 minutes away from Splash Lagoon, it’s three stories high, along with an outside play space. Each floor focused on a different play-inspiring theme: creativity, explore, and imagination. I do think that it’s a bit more suited for smaller kids. B’s ten years old, and was more into goofing around with his brother and sister than most of the exhibits. However, J and KJ both had lots of fun, especially on the imagination floor being doctors, grocery store clerks, and firefighters. The expERIEnce Children’s Musuem is definitely a nice place for kids to safely run around and blow off some steam, while learning a thing or two, in the process.
Surprisingly, this wasn’t taken at Splash Lagoon.
If you want to blow off some steam, in the offline retail variety, Erie is also home to the MIllcreek Mall. It’s one of the largest mall complexes in the USA. Even with the Canadian dollar being where it’s at, there were some good deals to be had there. Also, there’s no sales tax on clothes in Pennsylvania, to boot.
For the sports fan, Erie, Pennsylvania is also home to teams like the NBA G League’s Erie Bayhawks and the OHL’s Erie Otters. Neither were in town during our stay, unfortunately.
While we didn’t do a heck of lot of sightseeing and exploring in Erie, PA, what we did see and do was very worthwhile. Splash Lagoon, in particular, was the obvious highlight. When it comes to affordable road trip destinations where you can pretend to get away to somewhere tropical for a day or two, put Splash Lagoon at the top of your list.
Until the next one, peace!
Disclosure: though our accommodations and experiences during our stay were covered by Visit Erie, all opinions expressed are my own, as always.
While in downtown Hamilton this weekend, I ended up walking past Gore Park. A ferris wheel has been set up there this month, which you can ride for free. Despite being alone, I totally went on it, because, well, free ferris wheel ride, duh. As I sat in my carriage, going round and round, taking in the sky high view of my hometown, a Forrest Gump-like thought entered my head. Life is kind of like a ferris wheel. Through the highs and the lows, things tend to always come back around full circle.
I mention this because it relates back to the reason why I was downtown, to begin with. The Good Shepherd was hosting their annual Christmas dinner event, at the Hamilton Convention Centre by Carmen’s, and I had signed up to be a volunteer. While this was my first year volunteering, it was not my first year attending an event like this. Back in the day, things were always tight money-wise, to varying degrees. On more than one occasion, the best meal and toys that little Mike got over a holiday season came courtesy of the Good Shepherd, or a similar organisation which helped those in need. And yeah, for the longest time, I’ll admit to being a bit ashamed about this. I grew up being the dude who was usually “without”, surrounded by people who were “with”. These experiences were my own little secrets, ones that I tucked away and never really looked back at it.
Until this year.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to that dinner. One thing that I wasn’t expecting was the crowd. I arrived early, and had to wiggle my way through large throngs of people, to get to the door. Later, I was told that a lineup had formed, which stretched down to MacNab Street. All in all, there were more than 2000 guests and about 800 volunteers in attendance.
The calm before the storm…..
The other unexpected thing was how much time and effort was clearly put in to make it seem like you had been transported to a winter wonderland. A band and a choir comprised of volunteers performed holiday songs on the way into the dining rooms. The dining rooms themselves were festively done up. On the lower level, Santa was in the house, flocked with toys to give out. Some of the giant inflatables for kids to play on even fit the snowy theme. At the exit, a donation area was set up, for you to grab free winter clothing if needed, to help stay warm.
I was part of the serving team for the day, which basically involved running back and forth to the kitchen, making sure that there was always food on hand. No trays of turkey were dropped by yours truly, which was a win in my books. Another win was the amount of people young, old and in between, who came out to help. From my numerous conversations with other volunteers, the common theme seemed to be that, for many folks, this was annual tradition. My team leader, Lisa, for example, had, over the years, done almost every job possible at this event, and happily kept everything on track for us. Annette Hamm, a local news personality, was also on my team. She was a repeat offender (when it came to volunteering there!) and offered me some great advice.
The Good Shepherd opens the doors to their dinner to everyone and anyone. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but I can only assume that people from all walks of life came out to eat. At one point, among the sea of happy faces, I saw a little boy who resembled me when I was younger, sitting at a table with his mom (I’m assuming). I’d like to say that we then locked eyes, and that something profoundly, magically, Chistmas-spiritually happened, straight outta Hallmark. In reality, he probably wondered who this weird guy was that was staring at him, and I had to run off to get more mashed potatoes. At the end of the event, though, I did see the mom rummaging through the donated winter items, and giving him a scarf, which made him smile as if he just got a Playstation 5.
Look, parents tend to reflect on the jobs that their parents did on them, and want to do better than that with their own children. I’m no exception. When I see B and J’s annual Santa wish lists, and how thrilled they are, when they actually get what they asked for, I remember all of those years when little Mike would make his own lists, yet those lists had no chance of ever being filled. Shoot, on Black Friday this year, I woke up early, to go to a Real Canadian Superstore to buy a TV. On the way out, because I spent more than $250, the store gave me a free frozen turkey. When I told this to my family, no one cared, and we ended up giving it away to a friend. On some hungry nights, little Mike would have given his right leg for a right turkey leg, but here’s current Mike out here giving turkeys away, like it’s no biggie.
I guess what I’m rambling about is this. Though it’s been said many times, many ways (probably), everyone deserves a good meal this time of the year. Everyone deserves to feel a little bit special, too, especially kids. I’m glad that organisations like the Good Shepherd exist to help facilitate this. While not profoundly, magically Christmas-spiritual, it did finally dawn on me that we should be more appreciative, because things really do come around full circle. Ain’t no shame in that.
Disclaimer: Compensation was received from Best Buy in exchange for this post about the Sony Xperia 1 phone, but all opinions expressed are my own, as always.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you are still looking for that extra special gift for an extra special person, then have you considered the Sony Xperia 1 Cell phone? Since my FAQ posts are sometimes always popular, let’s do this in that way!
A POST ABOUT A PHONE? JEEZ, YOU’RE REALLY PHONING IT IN TODAY, HUH?
What? No! I like to keep up on the latest and greatest in mobile devices, and the Sony Xperia 1 is pretty sweet. Plus, Best Buy has a nice deal on it right now, too.
FINE, YOU CELL-OUT. TELL ME ABOUT THIS PHONE THEN.
The Sony Xperia 1 smartphone has a triple-lens camera system and advanced autofocus technologies, which makes it easy to take stable, detailed images and capture 4K videos. It’s unlocked, and has a 6.5-inch 4K OLED touch screen that really brings out the detail in captured footage and streaming videos.
6.5 inches? that’s big! bigger than my current phone.
What phone do you currently have?
hey, i’m asking the questions here!
Right. My bad. Anyway, besides the screen, the storage is good-sized, too. 128 GB internal memory with a microSD slot.
It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with a respectable 6GB of RAM, and runs on the Android 9.0 Pie OS at 4G LTE speed.
SO YOU’RE SAYING THAT I CAN TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES OF MY KIDS PLAYING AT THE PARK, UPLOAD THEM IMMEDIATELY TO MY “KIDS PLAYING AT THE PARK” FACEBOOK ALBUM, AND LIKE ALL THE PICTURES, TOO? ALL BEFORE THEY FINISH GOING DOWN A SLIDE?
I….I didn’t say that. You’d have to try doing that on your own, and get back to me. The Sony Xperia 1 does have a 12.0MP triple-lens camera system and 2x optical zoom to capture details without losing quality. Also featured is Motion Eye, which lets you capture slow motion videos at up to 906 frames per second, and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, to help keep your images free from motion blur. All of this will result in some dope shots of your, uh, kids on slides.
Wait. Why do you like your own photos on Facebook?
I’M WARNING YOU, pal! STOP ASKING QUESTIONS! NOW, CAN I DROP THIS PHONE IN A TOILET, OR NOT?
Uh. I mean, the Sony Xperia 1 has an IB68 rating, so it can stand being submerged in static water, to a point. I wouldn’t want to find out if it can survive a toilet drop, though. Neither should you!
YOU SAID THAT BEST BUY HAD A DEAL? EXPLAIN IT, PLEASE.
From December 9 to 22 2019, you can save $200 on the Sony Xperia 1 at Best Buy. Check it out here!
$200? do you hoW MANY SUBSCRIPTIONS TO DISNEY PLUS I CAN BUY WITH THAT?
Why do you need so many Disney Plus subscriptions?
THat’s it, mike! i warned you about asking questions. i’m leaving!
Yeah, I think we are about done here.
Happy Sony Xperia 1 smartphone shopping at Best Buy!
Parenting, as we know, is a tough but rewarding gig. Parenting fails are inevitable. For every parenting win like this, though:
A sight seen less than Bigfoot – my three children all playing nicely together!
There are way more parenting fails. Head shaking, hand-wringing fails. Fails that can make you feel like a complete failure of a loser. Shoot, this past week alone, I feel like I’ve been throwing up Ls left and right, on the fatherhood front. Here are five examples.
MY OLDEST SON DOESN’T APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF MONEY
I’ve told you before about B’s ongoing infatuation with the game Fortnite. Recently, he worked and saved up some money, so he could buy a Playstation gift card. He really wanted the latest Fortnite battle pass, and a new skin. What’s a skin, you ask? This:
When I was a kid, on more than one occasion, we had to scrounge up loose change, to be able to buy a cheap pack of hot dogs for dinner. Now, here’s my son spending perfectly good cash to buy a video game character dressed up like a bratwurst?
I’m sorry, people. I done messed up.
RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN BY TODDLERS
I took B to his piano class at a music academy the other day, but I had little KJ with me. KJ actually likes to go there, because the place has a toy area set up. We drove over, then walked along the snowy sidewalk to the building where the class was. When we entered the building, I noticed that there was a sign on the door of the academy which said to please remove your shoes.
No biggie, right? No parenting fails here?
B dutifully removed his sneakers and went in. KJ, however, refused to take off his shoes. Not just refused, but full on screaming and crying refused. It was an out of nowhere reaction. I was shell-shocked. I have no clue what was going on in his head. Maybe his feet smelled? Maybe he was embarrassed about his choice of socks?
Regardless, it’s been a minute since I’ve been apart of a ‘terrible twos’ tantrum, and that old familiar feeling of essentially being screwed set in real quick. If I took his shoes off, and carried him, that would just escalate the meltdown, and disrupt all of the classes. Standing in the hallway trying to be the stern father, followed by the bribing father, followed by the begging father, also didn’t work. I couldn’t just let him go in, though, because cleaning up dirty wet little footprints wasn’t fair to anyone. I couldn’t even take him to the car. That would have involved leaving him in the hall while I went into the academy for who knows how long to find B, to let him know where I was going.
After about 20 minutes, I scooped KJ up off of the ground (because no tantrum is complete without a good ol’ floor flopping), and carried him into the academy, shoes on, to sit on my lap for the rest of the class. He was less loud, but not quiet, during this time.
When the class ended, and we got back into my car, KJ, the newfound rebellious rule breaker, only had one thing to say for himself:
“But I want to play with the toys!“
I FORGOT TO TELL THEM ABOUT R. KELLY
Driving home one night, with B and J in the back bickering about something ridiculous, ‘I Wish’ by R. Kelly came on the radio. I hadn’t heard that song in forever, so I cranked it up, to drown out the arguing. As I was jamming like it was Y2K all over again, this conversation then happened:
B – “Hey, dad. Isn’t R. Kelly in jail?”
Me – “No. Well, yeah. He’s in jail while he’s on trial.”
J – “What did he do?”
I then thought about the answer, looked at my daughter in the rear view mirror…..and I chickened out, dude. That’s a complicated issue which I didn’t really want to talk about with her, or B, at that time. I mumbled something about he did some bad stuff, then we talked about what a trial is, and that was it. Maybe this should not be in the parenting fails. Maybe it should. I’m not sure. All I know is that I didn’t feel like listening to ‘I Wish’ by R. Kelly anymore.
I put their health in jeopardy by making them swim too soon
Do you remember, back in the day, when your parents would tell you that you have to wait an hour after you eat, before you can go swimming? I gave KJ a hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup before his swim class the other day. This led to him turning the pool into a hearty bowl of chicken noodle puke. For those keeping track at home, a half hour was not enough time, in this case. Oops.
Who’s hungry for some soup now?
MY YOUNGEST SON IS AFRAID OF TURNING INTO A BLUEBERRY
KJ’s vocabulary has come on strong the last few months, and it seems like we hear him saying a new word daily. The other night’s word was “disgusting”. His toy cars were disgusting. Everything on his dinner plate was disgusting. It was kind of annoying. I gave him a bath, and he complained that the water was disgusting. Finally, when he sneered, with one eye opened, that the soap was disgusting, I asked him why. With zero hesitation, he replied:
“Cuz soap makes you a blueberry! I don’t wanna be a blueberry! I’m a boy!”
Good googly moogly, there’s a lot to decompress here. Is berrying by way of soaping even a real phobia?
Nope. And it’s really weird, Mike.
Thanks for the reassurance, Sigmund Freud. Anyway, aren’t toddlers supposed to be afraid of monsters, and clowns, or Sir Topham Hatt, or something? Clearly, I’ve failed at properly scaring my kids, in addition to failing at the other parenting stuff I’ve mentioned.
That’s all that I got for now. Until the next one, stay winning, y’all. Parenting fails are bound to happen, anyway!