Tag: dadvice

The Kids Are Alright

Even though that they lost, they were all still winners, in the end.

Now, that probably sounds like the ending to some cheesy, cliche sports story. It’s not, though! It’s the beginning to this non-cheesy,  non-cliche sports story. Trust me, it’ll make sense later.

stories about tolerance

 

I don’t know about you, but I worry about what kind of people my children will be, when they’re older. B, in particular can be a handful, to put it mildly.  We try to instil as much as we can, but at the end of the day, it’s on B to accept it or reject it. As such, putting him in the right environments is always a big factor for K and I.  Sports, for example, are perfect, as they expose him to all kinds of life lessons in a structured, fun way.

Luckily, B loves basketball, and he played on a rep team in Hamilton this year. Even more luckily,  the team was comprised of a good group of boys. Sure, skill and talent-wise, they were OK, but everyone got along, and their attitudes were fine.  Off the court, whereas B’s the type who takes goofing around to new levels, I was surprised to see that, when with his team,  he wasn’t any more rambunctious as anyone else (usually).

After an up and down season, the team competed in the provincial championships recently.  The tournament covered a whole weekend, which meant staying out of town in a hotel.  After the first game Friday evening, the team went out to a restaurant for dinner.

While there, some of the boys ended up at the bar area, to watch the Toronto Raptors game on TV, including B. Don’t worry, they weren’t drinking  (they’re 9 years old. C’mon now). Eventually, though, B came running over to K and I, excited. He had worn his warm-up shirt to the restaurant, but now, he just had his jersey on. He told us that he gave away his shirt, to a kid at the bar. Since we had paid for the shirt, as part of his uniform, and B has a track record for silliness, like I mentioned earlier, our immediate reaction was to cut him off, and tell him to go get the shirt back.  He ran back to the bar, and came back to show us that he got it.

I’ll admit to screwing up here, folks. Sometimes, like the Fresh Prince said, parents just don’t understand. After the shirt incident, J went over to snoop on her big bro, and reported back that the boy who the team was hanging with at the bar had a disability (not her words, but I’ll error on the side of vagueness here). Then, we started hearing from B’s teammates that the boy was really excited to be talking to, and chilling with, the team. Then, we heard that B and one of his buddies had given him their shirts, as a token of friendship, and that the boy was super excited about receiving them.  B had come over to explain this, but K and I kiboshed it.

Sigh. Don’t do this.

When B walked by, after we found out about his gesture, we told him that, of course, he could give his shirt to his new friend, if he wanted to.  So he did. He then returned to say that the boy’s mom wanted to know where our games were the next day, as they wanted to come watch. K jotted down the address on a paper, which B delivered. Afterwards, when it was time to go, the mom approached the parents on the team, to say thank you, and compliment the boys.

The next morning, B kept nervously wondering if his new pal would actually show up, with his mom. importance of tolerance in schools As game time neared, I looked around the gym, and didn’t see them, which was disappointing, but understandable. Right before tip-off, though, they walked in! The dude was even rocking B’s warm-up shirt. B broke into a goofy grin, which made me goofily grin, too.  After the game, the team went over to say hi, and give the boy props and stuff, which he was clearly thrilled about.

Needless to say, I was proud that B, unsolicited and unprompted, made a new buddy, not because he was ‘different’, not because it was ‘the right thing to do’, but just…….because.  Maybe that guy will be alright, after all. We could all stand to be more tolerant, accepting and not quick to judge, right?

The only part that sucked was that the team kind of got killed in that game. However…..

Even though that they lost, they were all still winners, in the end.

 

Told ya that it would make sense. Til the next one, later!

 

 

The Shot Remix

A few months ago, I told y’all about The Shot a.k.a. that time when B requested that I hit him a foul ball, and, despite severely lacking any baseball skills, I somehow did it. Well, all good stories deserve a sequel.  Today, I’d like to tell you about the time recently when B called his shot.

Lemme set the scene. It was a clear black night, a clear white moon (word to Warren G!). Me and B were on the street…..walking to the Rogers Centre. I had scored a pair of wicked, first row seats to a Toronto Blue Jays – Baltimore Orioles game, which B had been excited for weeks about. He was going to stay up late on a school night to eat junk food, watch the Jays up close, and, most importantly, he was going to catch a foul ball!

Wait, what?

You see, in his mind, catching a foul ball at a recreational, co-ed three-pitch game is cool…..but snagging one at an actual Major League Baseball game is way cooler. So,  leading up to it, B  had been nonchalantly mentioning that he was going to catch one. Not hoped to. Not wanted to. He was GOING to. The day before the game, at school, he even drew a picture, and wrote (I’m paraphrasing here. I don’t remember the exact words.)  “I’m going to the Blue Jays game tomorrow.  I’m going to catch a ball.”

Now, we’ve seen the Jays play in person several times, but B had never made such a bold proclamation before.  Accordingly, I tried to temper his expectations. The stadium would be near capacity (close to 50,000 people).  Say 40 balls end up going into the stands. The odds of us getting one just weren’t very good. Nonetheless, B remained unfazed. As a parent, you hate to see your kids be disappointed about anything, especially when their hearts are set on it. However, if they are undeterred in spite of your opinion,  then what can you do? Make no mistake about it, B was undeterred.

So what happened?

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At the game, B spent the better part of five innings in a ready position. That is, whenever a ball was hit, he would jump up and raise his baseball glove, in preparation to catch a pop fly. While several foul balls whizzed by, none landed close to our general vicinity. Regardless, he was wasn’t worried. His only concern was the possibility of getting hurt if he didn’t get his glove up fast enough, when a ball came to him.

In bottom of the sixth, the Jays’ catcher, Russell Martin, came to the plate.  After a pitch or two, he ripped a foul ball down the first base line, right towards our section. Once it neared the stands, a man reached over and grabbed it. He then turned to B, and pointed the ball at him . While B stared at the guy, dumbfounded,  I held my hand up, and he tossed me the ball. To make it official, I then flipped it up to B, who happily caught it. The look on B’s face after was priceless.  Unsurprised disbelief turned all the way up probably describes it best. He said that he would do it, and, against all odds, he did it. B called his shot. He caught a foul ball!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty pessimistic dude. Children, however, aren’t so jaded. In their eyes, as Kevin Garnett said, anything is possible. When a kid makes a crazy statement like they’re going to catch a foul ball at a jam-packed stadium, maybe we, as adults, shouldn’t be haters. There really is something to thinking a big idea, telling yourself that you are going to make it a reality, and then making it a reality. It’s something we all probably should do more of.

OK, real talk over. Later, peeps.

Go catch a foul ball or something, will ya?

 

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A pic of the ball. Despite what B says, RA Dickey did not sign it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Kids Make You Feel Ancient

As a thirty-something year old dude, I’m still fairly young.  On occasion, however, thirty-something can feel like one hundred-something.

You see, it’s easy to forget that some things which are common to me, are completely foreign to my kids.  I’m sure we all remember our parents telling us stories from their adolescence, which we couldn’t relate to at all (“You paid a quarter to take the train to see a Beatles concert, and got change back? For real?!”).  Inevitably, I expected to become a dinosaur to B and J in the future, babbling on about the good ol’ days.

What I didn’t expect was for the future to come so soon!

Because both of them are under the age of six, B and J don’t know about stuff  which was the norm just a few short years ago. They have no clue. Needless to say, this has resulted in some interesting experiences.

Here, lemme give you some examples:

 WE USED TO READ WHERE’S WALDO, NOT PLAY IT.

While at the mall last year, I pointed out a “Where’s Waldo” book to B. Many an hour was spent by me as a youth looking for Waldo, Wenda, the Wizard, tastefully drawn nude characters etc.  B’s response when I showed the book to him?

“Oh. you mean it’s like the video game?”

Thanks, Nintendo Wii. Thanks.

COMMERCIALS WERE MANDATORY VIEWING.

We were watching a Toronto Blue Jays game on TV a couple of months ago. When the commercials came on, B grabbed the remote and tried to fast forward through them. It didn’t work, obviously. He’s used to watching shows pre-recorded, or  “on demand”.  I had a hard time explaining why we couldn’t zip past the ads (“Regular TV? What’s that?”).

A commercial free childhood? Sheesh. Must be nice.

NO REALLY. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL WAS A LEGENDARY BASKETBALL PLAYER.

B and I  watched the NBA Slam Dunk Contest recently.  He was blown away by what the contestants in it were doing. However, one of the judges, Shaquille O’Neal, kept giving the dunkers lower scores than what B thought they deserved. It ticked him off, to the point that he angrily demanded to know what was up.  Now to me, Shaq is one of the best, most entertaining ballers ever. I happily rattled off his accolades. B’s bitter response to this ?

“Well, why does Shaq ruin everything?”

So now, to B, Shaq is just some clueless old guy who has less basketball credibility than Kevin Hart. Shaqtin’ a fool, indeed.

COMPACT DISCS AREN’T SHINY PLATES.

Ever explain to a three year old girl how the Wu-Tang Clan CD that she put her food on actually has music on it? Unfortunately, I have.

WUTANG

WU-TANG CLAN AIN’T NUTHING TA….LUNCH WIT’?

PHONES USED TO ONLY MAKE PHONE CALLS.

Ever explain to a crying three year old girl why she could only talk to Grammy on the phone, but not see her as well, because your phone doesn’t have FaceTime? Unfortunately, I have.

Ciphertac,_first_secure_cell_phone_for_US_CDMA_networks,_STU-III_compatible_-_National_Cryptologic_Museum_-_DSC07952

What do you mean you can’t FaceTime on this?

 

R.I.P. 90s BOY BANDS?

*After I showed B and J the video for ‘Everybody‘ by the Backstreet Boys*

B – Who are they?

Me – The Backstreet Boys.

B – Are they from a long time ago?

Me – Sort of. The 1990s.

B – Are they dead?

Harsh, son. Just harsh. It wasn’t even that long ago! People from that era aren’t exactly dropping like flies. Yo, if you survived the 90s, good for you, apparently.

Speaking of which….

Y2K WAS TERRIFYING. WASN’T IT?

During a Chris Jericho wrestling match, the crowd was chanting his nickname “Y2J”. B asked what it meant, and I started to explain that it was a play on words, on Y2K. I then kind of tailed off and changed the subject, because I couldn’t remember why Y2K was such a big deal. I mean, at the time, the world was supposed to end, right?

Y2K_illustration

Hmm. Actually, if you survived the 90s, good for you!

 

MY ELDERS WERE MY MAIN SOURCE FOR INFORMATION.  I BELIEVED EVERYTHING THEY SAID.

Children are inquisitive and full questions.  Looking back, I’m sure I got a lot of B.S. from adults, when I was little. If they didn’t know an answer, it would require a trip to the library, or waiting until the door-to-door encyclopedia salesman came around, or something, to find one. I’m sure it was easier to fake it, just to shut me up.

With my kids, though? If I don’t know an answer, or if they think I’m lying, they’ll make me Google it.

Sometimes it’s easy to find (“Daddy? Who’s the oldest person in the world?”).

Sometimes it’s not so easy (“Daddy? Do you remember that man in that movie? You know, THAT movie? What was his name?”).

Sometimes, it’s WTF (“Daddy? How many people have ever died falling off cliffs? They do, too, keep track of this! Look it up on your phone!”). 

Whatever the case may be, I don’t get why they have to have the facts instantly, as opposed to simply taking my word for it.

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I..I can’t even. Are you dancing, Mike? Why are you doing the robot with that thing? What’s with the George The Animal Steele shirt? You realize you’re out in public, right? And you wonder why your kids don’t take you at your word?

Oh. I guess I get it now.

Anyway, you probably understand my point. The generation gap with your children can hit at any time. When it does, shoot, it can make you feel capital O Old!

That’s it for today. I think that I am going to go update my MySpace profile.

Later, y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feelin’ Blue

 

 

Like a lot of people in Canada, my family has gotten sick this year. We have a bad case of…..

Toronto Blue Jays fever!

For the first time in forever (word to Elsa and Anna), the Jays are a playoff team, And, for the first time ever, my kids (B especially)  are actually into the games.  For longtime fans like K and myself, it’s been real cool getting caught up in the excitement this year.

With all the excitement comes a lot of reminiscing. Not gonna lie,  it’s got me feelin’ a bit nostalgic, too, right now. Some of my favorite memories with my family have occurred at Jays games………

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Me, B and my pimpin’ G-Unit shirt, at B’s first game.

At the very first game that we took B, too, when he was a baby, I caught my first and only foul ball!

Photographic evidence of said ball.

Photographic evidence of said ball.

Well……

Caught is a bit of an exaggeration. Aaron Hill ripped a ball towards our section. It looked like it was coming straight for our heads, but it ended up  ricocheting off the seats in the empty row behind us. I immediately hopped out of my seat, to run after it. I snatched the ball up right before an older lady with a cane could get to it. Yes, that moment looked as lame as you’re probably picturing it. BUT, before the other fans could boo me, I gave it to B.

Yay me?!

Nevermind, let’s move on.

CN_Tower_Rogers_Centre_B

One lazy weekend, when B was three years old, I scored a couple of primo seats to a game. They were like 10 rows up from first base. It was quite the adrenaline rush, walking down and down the steps, snacks in hand, to our seats. I imagined people in the rows farther back staring at us jealously, as we sauntered by.

The first two innings were great. We crammed our faces with food, while cheering on Toronto. By the third inning, we had run out of food/money, and B was super whiny about wanting to leave.

So, we left.

I imagined the jealous people before were now snickering, as I carried B with my head down up and up the never-ending steps. It was my first and only walk of shame. On the plus side, we did spend the remainder of the game exploring the Rogers Centre and the stuff around it so it wasn’t a total waste of a trip.

 

I decided a sequel was in order, about a year later.

Once again, I got a couple of seats last minute to a game, for B and I. Luckily for us, it was Fan Appreciation Day as well. Merchandise was heavily discounted, so I was able to get B his first real Jays jersey! I also got something for myself.

jerseys

Rickey Romero? Josh Johnson? If you’re such a big fan, why did you only hit up the clearance rack, eh, Mike?

 

 

 

 

Oh, shut up!

Anyway, during the game, they had a bunch of giveaways. You know the deal. Some random 90s dance music starts blaring, and the cheerleaders or whatever come out, with swag. Hats or shirts, typically. They tease tossing it for a bit, while you jump up and down, hoping that they’ll give it to you, before they finally end up throwing it to someone not named you. Usually a little kid. During the sixth inning,  B had been pretty good to that point, but he wanted to leave. Before we were going to go, though, it was giveaway time. One of the cheerleaders actually came down right beside us. She did the whole teasing thing for a bit while the crowd went bonkers…..and then tossed a hat to B! Our first and only swag snag! Unfortunately, it was an adult sized hat, so he couldn’t wear it. Don’t worry, I’ve put it somewhere safe.

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What? My head is safe.

 

 

 

One more for you – during our road trip to Philadelphia, it turned out that Blue Jays happened to be playing the Phillies while we were there. So, of course we got some cheap seats and went to a game!

Our view from the cheap seats

Our view from the cheap seats

For real, I was a bit nervous before going. The fam was all rocking Jays paraphernalia, you see, and I had heard some horror stories about disrespectful Philadelphia fans. Fortunately, everyone there was cool. We didn’t get pelted with beer or anything like that.

About halfway through,  B and J started to get restless. I was worried that they might start making the people around us upset, if they kept acting up. Since we would probably never go to Citizen’s Bank Park again, we decided to walk around. Randomly, K ran into one of her friends, while waiting in line for food. Her friend had also made the trip down from Hamilton, to Philly. While they chatted, I noticed a bunch of big dudes were posing for pictures on the concourse. They were all decked out in Temple University gear. I asked one of the attendants what was up. She told me they were Temple’s football team, and they had a section reserved for them. Neat!

The line for food/K’s convo were both pretty long. As B and J ran around creating general chaos we waited, I noticed all of the big dudes were gone.  The attendant came over to me again, to chit chat. I casually mentioned how we were up in the bleachers before, but the kids were stir crazy there. She then told me that Temple’s team had left, and asked if I wanted to sit in their section. No one else would be there. Uh, our own private section? Heck yeah! So off we went, which is where we watched the rest of the game!

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A view from our better seats

 

There’s more examples, but I’ve gone on about this for long enough. I think you get my point though. It just seems like, whenever we go to a Toronto Blue Jays game, there’s always something memorable about them (besides the fact that they always seem to lose when I’m in attendance. Sorry, T-Dot).

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Oh, hey there, NHL superstar Steven Stamkos.

It’s funny how some things can really bring a family together. In our case, it’s cheering on the Jays. Man, even their playoff run this season has been must-watch TV in our house!

 

Unless it's a late game, and you can't stay awake, so you curl up in a pillow case to sleep, instead. What do you mean no one else does that?

Unless it’s a late game, and you can’t stay awake, so you curl up in a pillow case to sleep, instead. What do you mean no one else does that?

 

It’s all good.

 

Go Jays go!

Talk That Talk

 

talktalk

I don’t discuss it very often on here, but getting the kids to go to bed remains an ongoing problem for us. The struggle is real, man. At this point, I probably have a better chance of winning the lottery, than I do of telling B and J to go to sleep and have them happily oblige, with no shenanigans.

Take the other night, for example. I’ll give you a quick back-story first, though. See, we recently got J a new ‘big girl’ bed, because she had outgrown her other one. When we told her of our plans to get a new bed, she was excited. Her bed game was gon’ be on fleek, yo! She couldn’t wait to sleep in it!

And then we we actually got the bed.

The first night, instead of rushing off to test it out, she refused to sleep in it. She argued that she wanted to sleep in our bed. Who needs a big comfortable spread to yourself, when you can be uncomfortably wedged between two adults? #kidlogic

Anyway, over the next few days, K and I came to the unfortunate realization that the only way to get J to go to her bed was through bribery or similar tactics. This brings me to the other night.

When the big bedtime moment came, J agreed to go to sleep in her bed, BUT with one condition – I had to sit in her room with her, until she dozed off.  Well, shut the front door! She seemed pretty tired, so I would probably be outta there in 15 minutes, I figured. I tucked her in, pulled up the rocking chair, and waited.

There was one other thing, however – J wanted to talk to me as she fell asleep. OK, cool, whatever.

Turned out, she had a lot of stuff on her mind. No joke, here is what she talked about, in chronological order:

  • She recapped the movie Cinderella, including numerous small details.
  • She recapped the movie Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, including numerous small details.
  • She recapped the movie Scooby-Doo And Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, including numerous small details.
  • She wished upon a star.
  • She fired me, just because.
  • She discussed what she wanted to have for breakfast the next morning.
  • We discussed why pudding isn’t a breakfast food.
  • She discussed what she wanted for dessert the next evening.
  • She insisted that I had to sleep in her bed, or else I would be in big trouble (side note: no, my daughter isn’t Michelle Tanner).  
  • She recapped what she did at daycare, including numerous small details.
  • She wondered if she was three years old, or three and a half years old. When told that she was three and a half, she listed off all of the important events which had to occur, before her next birthday. These included Halloween, Christmas, family members’ birthdays, and, uh, Thursday.
  • She invited me to her birthday party.
  • Apparently she was playing with a GPS or something, as she gave me precise directions on how to get to Grammy’s house (side note: if I followed her directions, I would not have gotten anywhere close to Grammy’s house).
  • She told me that she had a dream about Monday, Tuesday and Saturday. It was a scary dream.
  • She asked if “Fingers” was awake (side note: Fingers is a character I made up years ago, to entertain the kids. It is just my hand speaking in my normal voice, but B and J get a kick out of it. Some parents use puppets or toys; I use my fingers. Some parents are more resourceful and creative than me).
  • We had this exchange:

J (singing) – Fingers is bad! Fingers is bad! Daddy? I have to tell you something.

Me – What?

J (singing) – Fingers is bad! Fingers is bad!

  • She sang some real songs to herself quietly, before finally fading and passing out.

The 15 minute waiting time that I estimated was off by by about two hours. It was all good, though, as at least she was in her own bed!

I went to sleep not long afterwards. At 3:00AM, to my dismay, I was woken up……by J. She had come into our room, and was standing beside my rested head:

J – Daddy! Daddy! You are in big trouble!

Me – Why? What did I do?

J – You said you would sleep in my room, but you’re not. Now c’mon!

I honestly didn’t remember making such a deal. However, at that time of the night, exhausted and barely conscious, I wasn’t in the mood for a fight. So, I got up, stumbled down the hall, and snuggled up with her, in her bed.

Here’s the kicker: the next morning, when I woke up, I was alone. At some point, J got up (again), and went and slept in MY bed!

As comfy as my sleep was, it was obviously a less than ideal scenario. Yet, that’s how it goes in our house on a regular basis. #bedtimewtf

The struggle is real, man!

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