Tag: parenting

Make A Dollar Out Of 15 Cents

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – never underestimate the power of a child’s imagination. Even though the game’s changed, and kids nowadays are different than how I was when I was a little, this statement still rings true.

B and J, for example, love technology. If left to their own devices, they could spend hours playing on their devices, or watching TV, Netflix or Youtube.  And in all honesty, sometimes I don’t mind a little tech time. It’s a break from the chaotic havoc and non-stop bickering that usually goes on in our house. The kids quietly staring at a screen, not getting into trouble? Sign me up!

The downside, of course, is that too much screen time will probably turn their brains into mush. Therefore, kids need to find other ways to entertain themselves. And I gotta admit, when it comes to making something out of nothing, to combat boredom, J is a pretty resourceful girl.

Take last Sunday, for example. It was just J, little KJ, and yours truly hangin’ and bangin’. Out of nowhere, J blurted out that she was going to make a train.  Lacking anything even remotely resembling train parts, I had no clue what her plan was. She then ran off to the garage, came back with two giant boxes and put in some work.

KJ also tried to help.

A while later, here was her end result:


Two train cars, attached with tape. One baby-friendly, with toys and snacks for KJ.  One J-friendly, with, uhh, a picture of her hanging in it, for some reason.

They played in these for a while, including pulling them around the kitchen, making “stops”. Eventually (or a lot longer than I would have thought, since it’s just two boxes),  J got bored and tried to play on her tablet. I could tell that KJ wanted to keep playing with her, though, so I suggested that she entertain him.

Her solution? Instead of watching unboxing videos on Youtube, her and KJ could play “unboxing videos on Youtube”!

This literally involved J hiding in a box and KJ opening it up. To his credit, KJ seemed impressed each time he peeled back the flaps, and saw her sprawled inside.  You know,  like how Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph looked when they opened their presents in that Saturday Night Live “D**k In A Box” video.

Step 1…

Later that evening, after I put KJ to bed, I heard J singing. While some kids belt out Disney songs, or Bruno Mars hits, or Cardi B jams (see, I’m hip to today’s music), J was singing about…..punctuation.  I went in her room, and saw her standing with a marker in hand, beside this creation:

 

We then had the following conversation:

Me – What are you doing?

J – Oh, I’m just working on my anxiety.

Me – Your anxiety?!

J – Yeah.  My teacher says that I need to practise my anxiety. *starts singing about puncuation*

Me – I don’t think that’s the right word. You drew some punctuation marks.

J – I did?

Me – Yes! *I point to them*

J – Oh. There’s four of them! Question mark….explanation mark….comma…..what’s the fourth one?

Me – Period.

J – What’s a period?

Me – You drew it! It’s the dot.

J – Oh right! I forgot. Then what are these? *scribbles randomly*

Me – Those aren’t anything. Why are their hands?

J – Those are my hands.

Me – I know. But why did you draw them?

J – I dunno.

Maybe the hands were anxiety hands. Who knows.  You catch my drift, though. Leave a kid on on their own, and they can come up with some wild thoughts (word to DJ Khaled!).

Anyway, I went downstairs after that encounter. A bit later, since imagination knows no timeframe (re: she didn’t want to go to bed),  J came downstairs, to tell me about her latest project:

J – You know how you always wanted a puppy house?

Me – I’ve never said that before. We don’t even have a dog.

J – Well feast your eyes on this! See, you just put your puppy in here, and they can sleep in it.

Me – Ok. This is awesome. But the roof is a book? What if you want to read it?

J – Oh, I’m too big to read it.

Me – What if KJ wants to read it?

J – Oh. Well. He can just take the tape…

*stops talking, to think hard*

He’s never going to read it! *grabs house, goes back upstairs*

 

Children’s imagination, people. They can turn nothing into something better than we can, for real.  And that’s not even getting into the deadly burglar ball that B and J concocted.

Until next time, peace!

 

 

 

Dear Retail Stores

 

 

Dear Retail Stores,

You and I, we’ve spent a lot of time together over the years. Things feel different now, though, and I’ve felt this way for a while. Shoot, you look as nice as ever. That’s not the problem. It’s just…..

I’ve changed.

I got three small kids now, and I don’t have the time for you anymore. There’s also somebody else, too. Somebody who’s easier, sorry. Therefore, we need to take a break for a while.  Let me explain.

First off, relationships are based on honesty, and you’ve lied to me recently.  I went to Sears, where they heavily advertised everything being 20-50% off. Yet, as I walked around you, I saw a lot of 20% off signs, but no 50% ones. I had a better chance of finding Waldo there, than a half off discount.

Then, I went way out of my way to see you the other night. A Superstore, to be exact. I wanted to buy a basketball game that was in your flyer, but, alas, you were sold out. I guess that’s what I get for popping in, and not calling beforehand.  On the way home, I went to Walmart. I had to buy some toilet paper. I grabbed a pack that was on sale for $13.97…..but you did me wrong. You rang in at $19.98. I argued with the cashier a bit, who thought I was mistaken. I went back to the aisle where I got it, and I was right. The marked price was $13.97! I just wanted to buy some TP. Having to argue over your price was pretty crappy, no pun intended.

Pun totally intended.

That same night, I found out that K had spent hours trying to set up a printer that she got from a Staples a couple of months ago. I attempted to hook it up, too, but no luck. The next day, I called HP,  who made the printer. They told me that the issue wasn’t hardware related, but software related. They would happily fix my problem……for a one time set up fee of $49.99 and $14.99/month for a year after.

When I pointed out that the set up fee cost more than the printer, and for all I knew, it was defective, so why should I have to pay $49.99 plus a monthly fee just for HP to tell me it was defective, I was met with indifference. When I asked if HP’s competitors had similar policies, I was basically told (not exact words) that Windows didn’t, but Windows stuff was more expensive, so you get what you get with HP, take it or leave it.  We decided to take it. Take it back to you, the next day!

Admittedly, the staff at Staples the following day was friendly and helpful, especially since we had lost the receipt. However, still feeling annoyed about my convo with HP the day before, I asked what was available in non-HP printers. Unfortunately, the selection was lacking. I settled with swapping out for the same HP model. It was disappointing, to say the least.

I was disappointed some more too, by you that day. I was in the market for a simple Nerf gun, and a booster seat. You’re called Toys R Us, but apparently Nerf guns and booster seats R Not Us, as you were out of what I wanted.   Next, I tried Canadian Tire, where you also didn’t have what I was looking for.  I headed to Walmart. Once again, I came up empty-handed. I did decide to buy some Christmas lights, to make my outing not so useless.  When I went to pay for my items,  however, you didn’t want my money.

No, for real.

Walmart’s debit/credit machines stopped working. Having no cash, I couldn’t buy my items, so I went home.

Home to someone else.

That someone else…..is Online. I bought my booster seat and Nerf gun Online, no problem there.  If Online doesn’t have something, I can quickly find it somewhere else. Online has a wide selection of stuff, so I don’t have to settle. Christmas shopping Online always takes my money, no problem. It’s nice to not have spend hours driving around in vain looking for something, and spend that time with the family, instead. Online is so easy.  Christmas shopping Online isn’t perfect, obviously, but right now? They’re kind of better than you sometimes.

I’m not a complicated man, but I have needs. Needs that you aren’t always able to meet. So for now, I’m going to pursue things more with Online. We can still chill, though, Retail Stores. There will always be a place for you in my life.  You can’t be my main squeeze. You can only be my side piece. But that’s OK, too, right? Consider us friends with benefits. If Christmas shopping Online can’t satisfy me, you and I can hook up!

This isn’t a goodbye. It’s just a so long for now. Good luck over the holidays!

Sincerely,

Mike

 

Sleeping? Beauty!

Kids passing out in random places is hilarious, man. Like, I personally have never been so tired that I just had to curl up and sleep on anywhere but a bed, couch or chair. Well, except for the time when I fell asleep on my floor, face first, in a plate of Chinese food  But that doesn’t count, because I was DRUNK!

Anyway, children are different. I used to find B in the weirdest positions, which always made me chuckle. J, unfortunately (fortunately?) has picked up on this habit, too, recently. Check it out!

We had come home late evening, and J had fallen asleep in the car. When we got to our house, she took off her coat and shoes, and went to the couch. She was so exhausted, however, that she only made it to the one end, and collapsed. She ended up in this awkward state, dangling off the side, partially upside down.  Apparently she is half five year old girl/half bat?


I apologize for the lousy lighting, as I found her in her closet like this one night.

Yeah, that’s right, her closet.

As far as I can tell, instead of going to her nice, comfy bed, she made a nest out of clothes on her closet floor. Hungry from her nesting, she then pounded back an apple sauce packet, without our permission. Finally she contorted her legs in an awkwardly flexible manner, against the door frame, and fell asleep. Apparently she is half five year old girl/half Gumby?

 

I…..I can’t even.

I can only speculate on what happened here, but I’ll give it a go.
J had a bath on this night, hence the bath toys. Afterwards, feeling so fresh n’ so clean (word to Outkast!), she naturally decided she needed to go on a trip. This required busting out the globe. I guess she’s half five year old girl/half Dora The Explorer? After deciding on a destination, she packed her Frozen backpack with just a few books, including her school yearbook. #kindergartenmemories

The destination must have been to a sunny resort, to escape the Canadian winter. The books must have been for reading material while she lounged on the beach. It was probably going to be a short trip, since she didn’t pack any clothes. Anyway, next, she must have called an Uber, to take her to the resort (I never said geography was her strong suit). Wanting to take full advantage of the door to door service, she most likely requested that the driver pick her up at the door of her choice; in this case, her bedroom doorway.  JUST the doorway, though, so that’s why she put down the STOP sign, to keep the driver from entering her room. While waiting for her Uber to arrive, she got tired,  grabbed a blanket and pillow, and fell asleep.

What? It could have happened this way!  The logic of a little kid is straight bananas sometimes, so you never know!

Awww!  No halves here. This is just 100% adorable, homey!

Big bro, lil sis, cuddled together after story time and a visit from the Sandman.   Why can’t every night be like this?

That’s all for now. Sweet dreams, everybody!

 

Road Trippin’ – What To Do In Rochester, NY

things to do in rochester with kids

(Note:  visit rochester hooked my family up with accommodations, a stipend, and passes/tickets to various attractions, in exchange for me writing about my what to do in rochester ny. The opinions given are my own, unbiased thoughts. Enjoy!)

 

Around my neck of the woods, Rochester is a city that gets slept on. Even though it is only about a two and a half hour drive away, it’s basically considered a “tournament city”;  that is, it’s the type of place which, unless you have family there, you only ever go to it for your kids’ hockey or basketball tourneys, or whatnot. You get a hotel for a couple of  nights , go to the games, maybe eat out at a restaurant or two, and then come home Sunday.

I’ll tell you what, though. After spending three jam-packed, fun-filled days in the ROC, it’s actually a great little town. One that is worth taking a vacation to, with your family!  Here are my suggestions on what to do in Rochester NY,  if you choose to go.

things to do in rochester with kids

B having a ball…in the Have a Ball exhibit.

Shoot, The Strong National Museum of Play alone is worth the drive, and somewhere you could devote a day to.  The Strong is an interactive museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It’s also home to, amongst other things, the  National Toy Hall of Fame, and the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Basically, it’s is two floors of cool collections and exhibits that will entertain kids of all ages.

B and J both loved the Wegmans Super Kids Market, a spot-on, kids sized replica of a grocery store, complete with the items having barcodes and prices that could be scanned at cash registers (side note – B cruising the aisles with his cart, grabbing only a pizza, and two cartons of chocolate ice cream is pretty much the most bachelorific shopping ever.) J also enjoyed  the Bear Country (Berenstein Bears) and Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street exhibits, while B totally dug playing the retro arcade games. Of all of the things to do in Rochester with kids, the Stront National Museum of Play tops my list!

things to do in rochester with kids

things to do in rochester with kidsstrong national museum of play

What to do in Rochester NY, if you’re an amusement park fiend, you ask? Well, another place which you can make a day out of visiting is Seabreeze Amusement ParkIt has over 70 attractions (including a waterpark) many of which are family and/or kid friendly. B, who’s seven years old and of average height, was able to go on most of the thrill rides alone, for example. things to do in rochester with kids The Park is also laid out well. Navigating it was easy, and didn’t require a lot of walking, to get around. When you’re pushing a stroller and chasing after two other kids, I can’t stress the benefit of this enough!

The comparable amusement park near me is the similarly priced Canada’s Wonderland, in Toronto.  I much preferred Seabreeze Amusement Park to it, in terms of the all-around family experience.

What To Do In Rochester ny

 

Speaking of experiences, since our family are big baseball fans, you know that we had to check out a Rochester Red Wings game. This is top of list of what to do in Rochester NY for any fan of the ol’ ballgame. The Red Wings are the Minnesota Twins’ AAA minor league affiliate.  Their opponent for our game is the Toronto Blue Jays’ AAA team, the Buffalo Bisons

things to do in rochester with kids

I gotta give the Red Wings credit. They create a great atmosphere, for their fans. Their stadium, Frontier Field, is pretty cozy.  As far as I could tell, every seat had a good view. The concourses were nice and wide (re: so minimal crowding, again key when pushing a stroller).  Tickets are very reasonable, as is parking. The food/beer prices are average, but there is a wide selection of concessions/brews, to satisfy every craving, anyway. We went on a Saturday, so we were treated to an extravagant, 1990s-themed fireworks show afterwards, too.

Three other random points:

1) An underrated perk of attending a minor league game is the good chance of getting a baseball. B somehow ended up with three. He kept one for himself, gave one to J, and gave one to a nice gentleman behind us, who was thrilled to get it.

2) The Red Wings have two mascots, Spikes and Mittsy. I’ve never seen a female mascot before, and neither had J. She’s normally indifferent to mascots, but she immediately took a liking to Mittsy, as did many of the other little girls in attendance. Why more teams don’t incorporate female mascots should be a think piece for a more scholarly website than this one.

3) B and J were the play ball kid, and honorary coach, respectively, for the game. Sweet!

things to do in rochester with kids

Photo Credit: Bare Antolos

things to do in rochester with kids

Photo Credit: Bare Antolos

We were also fortunate enough to be in town during Wickham Farms’ Sunflower Spectacular event.  If you are wondering about what to do in Rochester NY if you want a ‘gram-worthy photo op, this place is as good as any. The farm planted about 85,000 sunflower seeds in the spring, to cover five acres of land. Seeing thousands upon thousands of sunflowers is one of those things that sounds neat in theory, but really needs to be seen in person.  Just a beautiful, breathtaking sight!

what to do in rochester ny

The farm also had a bunch of other family activities, like a corn maze, mini-golf, hayrides, batting cages and a jumping pillow, to name a few. things to do in rochester with kids Little KJ loved the train ride. B and J had a blast shooting apples from the apple cannon (now there’s a sentence I’d never imagined ever writing).  The eats in their barn were tasty, too, especially the fresh donuts.

 

 

For the animal lovers, Rochester is also home to the Seneca Park Zoo, which is a pretty dope spot. While not huge, it still housed a lot of different animals and exhibits.

seneca park zoo

things to do in rochester with kids

Each area was very educational and informative, while the staff was all super friendly and knowledablge. Even better, it looked like the animals were very well maintained by them, too.  Not gonna lie, though – this owl and it’s Excorist-esque spinning head had me bugging out, for real!

 

Along the same educational tip, a visit to the Rochester Museum and Science Center was an exciting place to get our learn on. I believe there are more than 200 hands-on exhibits and collections, with just enough of them age appropriate for my kids, which kept them engaged the whole time. The Lake Ontario Dive Simulator Ride, in particular, is a hit with the fam, but pretty much anything that the kids can interact/play on, goes over well.

things to do in rochester with kids

 

B also tried his hand at doing the weather there. Watch out, Brick Tamland (word to Anchorman)!

Finally, in terms of accommodations, we stayed at the DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Rochester.  I highly recommend this hotel. It’s newly renovated, and our room was very ‘modern’ and spacious. The lobby area had a resort-like feel to it, which was cool. It also was well located; we only had to drive 15-20 minutes, maximum, to any of the places I’ve mentioned.

The best part?

The warm, chocolate chip cookies that they give you on arrival (or, you know, any other time, if you ask nicely)!

So that’s Rochester, in a nutshell, from my experience. It’s a city with a nice vibe, and lots of fun, affordable, entertainment options for a family.  Plus, if you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, it’s not that far, either. The ROC is definitely worth a visit, and exploring, my friends.

Until next time, peace!

 

 

45 Minutes – A Short Story on Discrimination

a short story on discrimination

 

As the title says, this just a short story on discrimination (possibly, to be fair). See,  my family was in Michigan recently. While strolling around a town one evening, we decided to eat at a restaurant. I won’t say the real name of it (to not falsely incriminate them), so let’s call it Milky’s. Milky’s looked fairly busy, so I figured that I’d run in, to see what the wait time was for a table. With a seven and a five year old, along with a baby,  plus a hungry wife, timing is everything. If the wait wasn’t too bad, I’d put my name on the wait list; otherwise, we would go somewhere else.

There were four employees standing around the front area in Milky’s, and the place looked at most 3/4 full. There were only a couple of kids hanging out in the waiting lounge, too. I asked one of the hostesses how long it would be for “a table for five, but one just needs a high chair”.  The four of them talked quietly among each other, then one wandered off towards the back area. When he returned, I was told that it would be at least a 45 minute wait. That seemed a bit long, so I said thanks but no thanks, and left.

I told the family about the 45 minute time. After talking to K, we realized that by the time we walked to a different restaurant, and got seated, it would probably take at least 45 minutes, anyway. As such, we decided to add our name onto the wait list at Milky’s. Or, more specifically, because I felt sheepish about going back, K headed in to put our name down.

As K went inside, B said the following:

“If mom gets us a table, then this place is racist!”

B’s seven years old. The whole subject of racism wasn’t one that I had touched on with him yet. Needless to say, my jaw dropped at his remark, so my knee-jerk reaction was to defend Milky’s. I told him it was really busy, it didn’t matter who you were, you would have to wait regardless, and so on.

I looked up, and saw K waving us in.  She said there was a table ready for us now!  B then said to me:

“See? I told you this place was racist!”

Once again, I was speechless.

This incident sucks, to be honest. I want to give the restaurant the benefit of doubt here. K did tell me that she asked for “four people plus one high chair”. This wasn’t like how I asked, so maybe they had a different set of tables in mind for my request, than hers. Waiting 45 minutes or longer isn’t that big of a deal, as long as everyone is in the same boat.

And yet…..

A black guy wearing jorts, a baggy shirt and a fitted hat (yo, I never said I dressed well, people) gets the ‘take a hike’ time, while the pretty blonde woman walks in right after, and gets immediate service?  The table that we ended up at was in the same area where the employee had went to, when I inquired.

So the time to be seated there went from 45 to zero, real quick?

Man, the optics are sketchy. It’s entirely possible that Milky’s rationale for this was perfectly valid. However, it’s plausible that their reasoning could have been discriminatory-based, too. I don’t know for sureAnd that not knowing part sucks.

Worst of all was B’s reaction, obviously. Your number one job as a parent is to protect your kids. Unfortunately, though, there are some things in our life which you just can’t protect them from.  Death, for example. Or the cold, hard truth about Santa Claus. Or, when you are a visible minority, the fact that there are people who will hate you because of the colour of your skin. I thought seven was too young of an age to be exposed to racism, but I was wrong.

I was a little bothered during dinner. However, I wanted to give it some thought, before talking to B.  So later, when we discussed what had happened, I asked him where he learned about racists. His response?

“Well, Donald Trump, because he doesn’t like black people”

WTF!

Look, don’t get it twisted, I’m not throwing shade at Trump.  B apparently heard things from his friends at school, and ran with it. I just think it’s messed up that a little boy visits the USA, and because (in his mind) the President of that country doesn’t like his skin colour, he can expect to go somewhere and be discriminated against. To reiterate, I’m not claiming Trump or Milky’s are racist. I’m saying that it sucks that my seven year old son somehow came to this conclusion, and I couldn’t entirely dismiss him, when he called out Milky’s on their tactics.

It’s on me now to work on this mindset with my children, I get that.  I can’t fix racism, but I can at least instil confidence and hope in my kids about who they are, and what the future holds.  Without going all John Lennon on y’all, imagine a world where you never have to think that the colour of your skin is going to hold you back from doing stuff. Pretty crazy, eh?

And yet, why is that crazy?

Anyway, that’s my story for today. For what it’s worth, if you can deal with the possible discrimination at Milky’s, I highly recommend the fish tacos.

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Education.com Money Math Games

It’s summertime, which can only mean one thing – it’s lemonade stand season! Money math games are needed!

 

Err…well, I guess it means more than that, but bear with me.  

See, B and J have already set up shop once this summer, and raked in some serious (to them) money by selling lemonade. They now look forward to taking their earnings to a store and making it rain, bruh!

Or just buying a bunch of candy at that store. One or the other.  

Anyway, B and J, while experienced hustlers, still have a lot to learn about the art of money. Fortunately, my good friends at Education.com have a fun, easy game to play, to help any young, budding entrepreneur or shopper. We had a great time when we played it at our house. Check it out!

 

 

Grocery Shopping Game

Want to make sure you raise a money-savvy kid? Start them out right with this activity that hides valuable math skills within a fun grocery store game. An added possible benefit of this game? It may encourage your child to join you on your next grocery pickup!

What You Need:
Money
Table
Several small objects
Paper
Construction paper

 

What You Do:

  1. Explain to your child that you will be the grocer and he will be the shopper.
  2. Lay out the small objects on the table. Objects can be anything from toys to clothes to food.
  3. Have your child help you make little paper tents out of the construction paper. (The simplest tent? Just a regular sheet of paper folded in half.)
  4. Write a price on each paper tent. Try to keep prices varied, but only as complicated as you think your child can handle.
  5. Group the items together and place a price tag in front of them. For example, all the 5 cent items should be in one group. All the $1 items are in one group and so on.
  6. Give your child a purse or baggie with some cash. If he has a wallet, this would be a good opportunity to use it.
  7. He can “buy” a number of things from you. But before you accept his money, ask him to tally up how much he owes you.
  8. If he gives you more than he owes, give him back change and ask him to count it.
  9. Continue to let him buy things until he runs out of money.
  10. Now let your child be the grocer. Have him organize the items by price on the table.
  11. Set him up with some coins and a couple of bills so that he can give you change.
  12. Go “buy” a couple items and pay him for them.
  13. If you want to challenge him, give him an incorrect amount of money and see how he handles it.
  14. After a couple rounds of this grocery game, he will be ready to shop at a real store!

How To Make A Baby Stop Crying In Seconds!

So you’re with a baby and they won’t stop crying. You’ve fed them, changed them, busted out all of the tricks in your bag and they just won’t stop. Trust me, wtih lil KJ, I’ve been there many a time.

 

What do you do?

 

Last week, Daniel Eisenman posted this video on his Facebook page, which quickly went viral:

A simple, soothing “Om” sound and seconds later, blissful silence. So genius in its simplicity. No wonder my last resort noise (me sobbing uncontrollably, pleading with the kid to hush. Just kidding!) never worked.

Excited by this breakthrough, I couldn’t wait to test this new silencer method out on KJ when all other options failed.

How to make a baby stop crying  in seconds?

Sign me up!

The result?

Yeah, that ish didn’t work. It just made him more riled up. He had his little dukes up by the end, like he wanted to punch me out, for making that sound.

However, if you’re like me, and you felt a bit let down by Mr. Eisenman’s technique, don’t fret, my pet.

See, the principles to the technique are solid. Thus, if “Om” doesn’t work…….

Try making some other random noises!

For example, I called this one A Case Of The Yips:

 

It was a bad case, because four minutes later, I was still yipping:

Here’s the creepy Ric Flair (Whoo!):

Don’t you know? About the bird?! Everybody knows that the bird is the word:

Here’s the broken buzzer:

Finally, if you’re whistling game is on point (note: my whistling game is not on point), try the Chill Bill:

Make the right noise, and your baby will stop crying in seconds!

Maybe.

I don’t know. I can’t actually guarantee that.

Regardless, if they do stop crying, then please don’t thank me. No, for real, I’m just a guy on the internet who ripped off someone else’s better idea.

 

how to make a baby stop crying

Thief!

 

Anyways……Thank Daniel Eisenman.

 

 

 

Do The Right Thing: A Walking Food Tour in Toronto

walking food tour

 

Do you and your kids have a thing?

You know, a thing?  

Yo, I’m talking about that common interest which helps you bond with them.  It dawned on me recently that J and I don’t really have a thing. This realization made me feel kind of guilty, for real. Sure, we get along well and do lots of dope stuff together. However, unlike Amerie back in 2005, we don’t have one thing. B and I, for example, talk, watch or play basketball a lot. J and I don’t get down like that, though. With this in mind, when my good friends at Culinary Adventure Co invited me out to one of their walking food tours, I jumped at the opportunity!

See, Culinary Adventure Co. is Canada’s largest culinary tourism and experience operator, offering a variety of neighbourhood food tours and other tasty adventures. J is curious by nature, and also loves to try new eats. A walking food tour would be right up her alley, right? We’d walk around a ‘hood in Toronto, learn some history and sample some scrumptious foods. Perhaps this would be start of our new thing: daddy-daughter foodies!

did we do the right thing?

Well…….

Ok, let me start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed our particular walking food tour of the Riverside and Leslieville area in Toronto. Our guide, Ian, was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and filled us with all kinds of cool information about the neighbourhood.

Our tour group consisted of a bunch of hardcore foodies. I’ve never been around that many people who were so passionate about their dining. They were the type who would have choked on their baba ganoush if I had told them that I had Kraft Dinner for supper the other night. Even though I lacked their sophisticated palate, and even though I was the only one who had a child with them, everyone in the group was very friendly to J and I.

In terms of the food, I really liked everything that we had, but don’t take my word for it. I  did make a point of listening in on the opinions of the group at each stop. Truth be told, I heard a lot of compliments from the hardcores about the tastes and presentations.

However, truth be told, I also had two unexpected issues come up with J.

The first was, while normally very open-minded, she picked that day to be a picky eater. Despite normally liking what was offered at the Middle Eastern restaurant we stopped at, she refused to try anything, because it looked “spicy”.  Then, despite liking canned tuna, she refused to try the fresh tuna at the fish market, because it wasn’t canned. Despite loving bread, she refused to try the fresh bread at the bread factory, because it didn’t come in a  plastic bag (curse you, Dempsters!).

The other issue was, while I was digging the hot knowledge that Ian was spittin’, J couldn’t have cared less. This was my bad, as I misjudged the age appropriateness a tad. As such, she spent the day entertaining herself, usually separate from the rest of the group.

 

for example

 

While Ian told us about the historical significance of where we were standing, J wandered off to explore the area.

culinary adventure co.

Here she is using Google Maps to play Pac-Man. Seriously.

At the bread factory, she wandered off into the kitchen, and was amazed with how big the mixer was.

Instead of eating at the Middle Eastern joint, she filled up on a mint lemonade.

This is the face of someone who was not impressed with seafood…..

 

But here is the face of someone who is happy with her doll-placing handiwork.

 

I can’t front. She seemed to be having such a blast, that I had to join her most of the time.

Ice cream selfie! Well, actually, blood orange/raspberry gelato selfie.

 

so did we do the right thing?

To summarize, I thought Culinary Adventure Co. put on an excellent experience.  The one that we went on is a bit better suited for kids older than J (re: older than five-ish). Even if they aren’t that age, however, they’ll still be entertained.  Regardless, any foodie definitely won’t be disappointed.

At the end of our tour, as we walked hand in hand to the car, I asked J if she had a good time. I expected her to say no, and that it was boring, and yucky or something. Instead she smiled, mouth smeared with blood orange/raspberry gelato, and said that she had “sooo much fun”. I had to smile too, because I also had a great time with her.

Being daddy-daughter foodies ona  walking food tour probably isn’t be the right thing for us.  And you know what?

That’s cool.

Maybe our thing is that we don’t have a thing. Yet. Hanging out and spending quality time together right now, doing whatever, is really all that matters.

 

 

disclaimer: while J and I’s walking tour was free courtesy of Culinary Adventure Co., all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

Night Shift: Dealing With A Colicky Baby

After dealing with small kids for so long, I’ve honestly forgotten  how different they are to babies.

The years really do fly by. B and J are little people now.  Baby KJ, on the other hand, is whole ‘nother creature.  My dad strategies (or as I call them dadegies. What? That’s catchy! What do you mean that’s not catchy?) which work on seven and four year olds, don’t work on two month olds. As such, I need to switch my game up, to handle KJ, as dealing with a colicky baby is unique as heck.

Full disclaimer

Right now, K does most of the heavy lifting with him. She is home during the day while I’m at work. However, the evenings are when I do a  “night shift” in our house. K goes to bed around 9:00pm and wakes up a few hours later. This means that it’s just me and the baby until then.  Yep, KJ and I bonding and spending quality time alone together, creating lasting memories.

How’s it going, you ask? How am I dealing wth a colicky baby?

Well……here’s a typical shift.

K’s breastfed KJ. He’s burped, changed and contently sleepy. He should pass out any minute now.  K hands him off to me, and heads to bed. Let’s check the time:

Ok, baby boy, let’s get our bond on like James! Haha, you see what I did there?

 

Hey, stop looking at the stairs for Mommy, dude. She’s gone.

Aww. She’s not gone, gone,  like gone forever. She’s just sleeping. She’ll be back! Please stop crying. You look tired. Get some rest!

No?

You’re just going to cry louder?

Alrighty. Time to dip into the ol’ bag of tricks.  Are you still hungry? Here, have some bottle. The finest breast milk around.

Hey, don’t scream, I’m just askin’.

Do you want to be rocked? Here, let’s rock.

Hmm. That didn’t work.

OK, let’s go for a walk around the house. Up the stairs, down the stairs. To the windows, to the wall. Swing by the fridge, to get daddy a snack, and back to our chair. How you doin’ now?

 

Even worse than before. Oh boy. I wonder what time it is.

Dang it!

Ok, be cool, Mike. Even though you can’t hear yourself think over the screaming, it’s not personal. It’s probably just colic (side note: yeah, KJ is colicky).  

I know. Gentle bouncing and some singing! I haven’t tried that yet.

B-b-b-bounce wit’ me, bounce wit’ me!

It’s working! The crying is easing up.

Now let’s bust out some jams. What do you want me to sing? Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or Bad and Boujee, by Migos?

What? I saw them on the Ellen Show, so it must be totally kid appropriate.

 

Migos you say? Oh, I know you can’t talk, but I’ll pretend you said that.

Raindrops, drop tops –

 

Hey, stop looking for Mommy. She can’t save you now. Haha. Fine, no more trap music.

Yo, if you’re content, do you mind if I watch a little bit of TV? I’d like to check out Riverdale.

 

Don’t look at me like that. It’s not just for teens!

Anyway, it requires my full attention. Some peace and quiet so I can hear the dialogue would be great, mmkay? Thanks.

Didn’t even make it through the opening credits. Oh well.

No offense, but you stink.

No really, did you poop?

You sure did. Diaper change it is.

How’s that feel?

You’re still crying, so I guess not good enough.

Are you hungry?

Here, try the bottle again. Mmm, yummy, right?

Not right?

You want the real thing, don’t you? You’re going to keep crying until you get some boob in your mouth, even though you know my boobies ain’t milky?

Is…..is that a SMILE? Do you enjoy messing with me or something?

Hardy har har, dude. Hardy har har.

That escalated quickly.  Ok, well if you keep crying for that boob, then I’m going to hum Bad and Boujee! How do you like them apples!?

Wait. Why am I negotiating with a baby?

Look, Mommy will be up soon, so just chill.

You’re not chilling.

What time is it, anyway?

Oh, I hear Mommy’s alarm.  Sweet.

She’s coming downstairs!

 

Are you serious!?

Now, you’re tired?

All of that crying must have worn you out.

This was fun, but I’m going to bed. Goodnight, lil man. See you tomorrow, when we can create some more beautiful moments together!

 

And that’s how I am dealing with a colicky baby these days. Until the next one, peace!

 

Milestones in Becoming A Dad

The other day,  a milestone event occurred in our household. And event so huge that it marked a giant step forward in my efforts in becoming a dad who’s great……

I had my first outing, in public, by myself, with the three kids!

I wish that I could tell you that this monumental occasion went off without a hitch.

However, I also wish that I could tell you that I won the lottery, and am buying you a Nintendo Switch, for being such a loyal reader.

Unfortunately, neither of these things are true.

The outing was an unmitigated disaster, for real. Whoever said that going from two kids to three kids was easy, clearly only had two kids. Becoming a dad of multiples only multiplied the parenting required disprortionately.

Lemme recap my night for you:

♠ The scene was B’s basketball practise, at an elementary school. The plan was that I would meet K and the kids there, after work. K would then take off, to do her thing.  We would switch cars, too, since we only have one vehicle that can hold all of us, a Dodge Journey.

Simple enough right?

KJ would sleep in his carrier the whole time, J would play on her tablet, B would ball out, and then I’d take the children home, when it was over, singing Kumbaya the whole way. Piece of cake!

♠ When I got to the practise, K told me that KJ had to be changed soon. Since he freaks out and gets hyped up whenever I change him, my simple plan of letting him sleep  the whole time was now a non-starter.

♠ After K left, J decided that she had to go potty….and that I had to come with her. She refused to go by herself.  I told her that I would wait by the door, while she went.

♠While waiting by the door, KJ started to fuss, so I had to  go over to him, to pick him up.

♠ I chatted with a friend, who wanted to hold KJ. After a while, I realized that J had been in the washroom for a long time.  When I went in to check on her, I found her standing under the air dryer, crying. She had an accident, before she made it to the toilet, and her pants were soaked. In the history of becoming a good dad moments, this was going to be a turning point.

♠ J said that there were extra pants in mommy’s car. Phew!

♠ I  told J to wait, and ran off to the car. I searched frantically, but alas,  no pants. D’oh!

♠ Ever panic, and come up with an idea that seems smart at the time, but is stupid in retrospect? Now back in the washroom, I figured that I would try to dry J’s pants. Instead of taking them off, I scooped J up, groom-carrying-his-bride style, and held her under the air dryer. Pretty sure Mr. Bean is the only other person who trys to dry their pants so incompetently.

♠After doing this nonsense for five minutes, my friend, who still had KJ, walked in. Luckily, after seeing me struggling like an idiot with J, she took pity on me, and offered to let J wear an extra pair of her son’s shorts.

♠ Wearing over-sized basketball shorts was too big of a fashion faux pas for my four year old girl, though. She refused to put them on, because she was worried that people would stare at her. We argued, but eventually came to an agreement – she would wear the shorts, but she had to wear her winter coat (which I had to go back out and get) as well, and she had to hide her face in my shirt when we walked out (so she wouldn’t see the people staring at her).

♠ Back at the bleachers. I relieved my friend of her KJ duties. KJ had duty in his diaper, so I had to change him. Not wanting to do it in front of a crowd (because of the freaking out that I mentioned earlier), I went into the washroom again. Apparently, this elementary school didn’t have a pregnancy problem, as there weren’t any change tables. There weren’t any benches, either. I wandered around, and eventually ended up in some sort of lounge area.  I changed KJ on a picnic table.

♠ I made my way back to the bleachers, and grabbed a seat. J immediately hopped up on my lap. I ask J to sit somewhere else. More arguing ensued. Eventually, she agreed to sit in KJ’s carrier, where she remained for the rest of practise, watching her tablet. Yes, people stared at her.

♠ Words of wisdom – if you’re looking for a quiet place to put a baby to sleep, I do not recommend a basketball court with like 40 screaming child ballers on it.  KJ would doze, and then suddenly jolt up at the noise. I spent the time on the edge of my seat, hoping like heck that he didn’t start freaking out.

♠ Near the end of practise, B came over, bleeding.  He got hit in the mouth, and had a split lip.  He had to spend the rest of the time holding a cloth to his lip, soaking up blood.

♠ Don’t feel too bad for him, though.  Afterwards, as we walked out to the Journey, I opened the door, so he could climb in first, to the back. He immediately veered right, climbed to the front, and started to press a bunch of buttons.

 

He somehow turned on all of the interior lights. And of course, I couldn’t figure out how to turn them all off. After screwing around for a bit, I gave up, and drove home, with the inside of the car lit up brighter than a bar at closing time. No, we did not sing Kumbaya on the drive, either.

And there you go. My first attempt at an outing on my own sucked.

See, I used to be scared of doing stuff on my own with B and J, but I got over that, and things usually weren’t too bad.

Adding a baby into the mix, now, though?

I guess all I can say is that, eventually, things will get better, right?

 

Right?!

 

 

 

 

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