Daddy Fails – Dude You’re Making Us Look Bad!

So here’s the thing: men screw up all the time. In fact, in the dictionary under the word “man”, the definition reads:

“creature prone to screwing up”

Don’t bother to look it up. Just trust me on this one…

Anyway, when those men become daddies, their screw ups become immortalized as Daddy Fails. All of us fathers have committed them. Some of us are better at it than others. Some of us are down right pathetic!

Here is my attempt to help those poor saps who are struggling:

DO learn how to comb your child’s hair ESPECIALLY if you have a girl. Please learn a simple braid, or how to make a bun, or how to put a barrette in their hair.
DO NOT pick up a hair magazine and try to mimic one of those styles! Please do not attempt to create a faux-hawk with enough gel to clog up the Suez Canal! We will talk about you, simpleton!

DO learn how to operate your child’s stroller. It is NOT intuitive, no matter how easy it looks.
DO NOT let the first time that you attempt to open a new stroller be in front of your boys. It is not a pretty sight. Ask me how I know…

DO take an active role in your child’s extra curricular activities and play chauffeur to their many practices.
DO NOT show up with your child completely unprepared for the aforementioned activities. Don’t  show up to swim practice with your child still wearing jeans and timbs at the pool. Put the swimming suit, ballet outfit, or costume on at HOME … not 5 minutes before the class is supposed to start, moron!

DO be responsible and feed your kids on the regular schedule if your wife/partner leaves town and entrusts you with the care of your miniature humans.
DO NOT have those meals consist of fries and chicken nuggets, three times a day for 5 days straight, yuh lazy lima bean (shout out to In Living Color)! When your kids gain 10 pounds mysteriously in your partner’s absence you gon’ have some ‘splanin ta do!!

Lastly, and seriously…
DO place your children in a high priority in your life. Remember: they’re counting on you.
DO NOT forget that your partner needs your attention too! It’s easy to become super parents and forget that there is an adult that you are in a relationship with too. Save some (a lot) of love for them too!

Hopefully, this short list saves some new dad some anguish.

What’s the worst “Daddy Fail” that you have ever seen?
What would be different, if anything, if it were a MOTHER that you saw struggling with these things?

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Daddy confessions.

I had decided to use this forum to air out some of my dirty laundry. I have some confessions to make and I think I should ask for forgiveness from our readers… Le Sigh…here I go…

I hide from my family sometimes. 
Now I don’t mean that I go out for milk and return 3 months later. Or say that I’m going to hang out with some friends and then don’t return for 6 years. Nothing crazy like that. I hide in my kitchen!
I…I…ummm…errr…
Wash dishes!
See we have a traditionally formatted house so if I’m in the kitchen then I can escape for 5 minutes to reset my brain! And even though washing dishes is my MOST HATED chore, it’s a perfect reason to escape to the man cave…ummmm …I mean the kitchen. I’ve heard my wife hides in the bathroom but who am I to judge!

I assassinate balloons.
My kids LOVE balloons. I mean, if there is a helium filled orb in a 1 mile radius, these girls go crazy!  I, on the other hand, DESPISE balloons! Just call me the Grinch of Inflatable Objects. So when balloons get to the house, overnight they seem to lose their ability float! It’s like they all develop a tiny leak at the base of the knot and within a day they’re completely flat! It’s soooooo weird! My kids can’t figure it out and neither can I. I think Aisha is onto me though.

I have opposite views about snow.
Here is my Lady C’s reaction to snow:
“YAAAAAAY!!!!”
Here is MY reaction to snow:
“@#$^&”)@&@^%$!!!!!” 
She thinks about snow angels and going down the slide into the backyard into a pile of fluffy snow. I, however, think of shoveling, scraping, salting the pathways. AND I hate the cold (you may remember I’m Trini!) so snow is a reminder that I don’t live in the tropics any more!  I make every excuse not to go outside, including, but not limited to, “It’s too cold outside”, “The snow is too wet”, or “Daddy’s back is killing him”! Almost none of these excuse are ever actually true. Don’t judge me. I suck it up at least once a season and go pretend like snow is cool.

I lie about batteries.
Inevitable a noisy, annoying toy makes its way into the Greene house and of course, it will be the girl’s most favorite thing…and the reason for multiple headaches on my part. Fortunately, most of the toys run on batteries which means that they eventually die. That’s where my sinister actions take over. Rather than replace the batteries, I put on the saddest voice I can and say, “Oh nooooo! The blah blah blah toy is BROKEN!! Let’s put it over there with the rest of the ‘broken’ toys. So sad!” Shhh…this plan is flawless…for now.

I know. I know. This make me a horrible father. I hope you all can forgive me. However, I am sure you have some stuff that you have to confess too! I can’t be alone…I hope!

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Oops…my bad!

We teach our kids a lot of lessons:

  • How to tie your shoes laces.
  • How to eat properly at the table.
  • The value of play and exercise.
  • What is the proper way to be a Jets fan.

One of the most important lessons that we teach our children is taking responsibility for your actions. In our house, Lady C ALWAYS has a reason why the thing that just happened “wasn’t her fault”:

 “You stopped me before I could do the right thing.”

“I didn’t mean to but Grandma made me do it.”

“I thought you said to do it.”

“So-and-so did it so I can’t be blamed for my actions.”

Just a few weeks ago, I stopped her from spouting one of her many excuses and said,

Just own up to it and say I’m sorry. Don’t blame someone else for your actions!

Good advice…so I thought.

Until recently, when I realized that I wasn’t following myself!

I had done something wrong (as we husbands are prone to do) and immediately I started spewing a bunch of excuses (you know: the tools of the weak and incompetent, used to build monuments of nothingness? Yeah…those!). All of a sudden I heard the words that I had told my daughter coming from my wife’s mouth… to me. Jarring. In that moment, I realized a few things:

Sometimes we need to listen to our own advice/lessons. Children can make you revisit the basics of human behavior because they’re at the starting blocks of their life. The lessons they’re learning should still be important to us but we forget sometimes.

Watch your actions: you’re kids are watching. I know we hear that all the time but most of the time we’re talking about really bad stuff like drinking, smoking, or domestic violence. It applies to bad habits like making excuses too. Now, I don’t know that Lady C sees that from me and copies it, but now I will be conscious of it.

Be easy on your kids: they’re still learning. Sometimes I get frustrated that I have to say the same thing over and over again. After a while you should get this, right? Well clearly, some things stay with us all of our life and we have to keep working on it. If I’m still hammering away at it, it stands to reason that it’s an even more difficult concept for a kid to grasp!

Have you ever had to take a step back and take your own advice? What did that look like for you?

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Light Painting: Cold Weather Fun

I am not a fan of cold weather.

If left to my own devices I would get home, get into some sweats, and binge watch Sports Center. But I don’t have a choice in the matter do I? Why not, you ask? Because we live with…
Miniature Humans!!!

Kids do not care about the weather. They want to go outside.

Can’t go outside? Fine! What fun thing can we do INSIDE, daddy!?!

Welp, since I’M not going outside, the challenge is always to find interesting things to do inside.

Let me clarify: Interesting to both of us! If either of us becomes bored with the activity, it’s a wrap!

So I have a Pinterest board of cool stuff to do with a 5 year old but then it dawned on me; why not use what I am passionate about.

Photography!!

So far we have done stuff like a photo shoot with her Barbies and practicing taking portraits. This time I wanted to try something different and her light up toy from Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular gave me a great idea: Light Painting. It was perfect since the sun goes down at like 4pm these days!!
(How rude! Come on, Mr. Sun! Put a full day’s work, why dontcha!)

Here’s how it works:

  • First you need a camera….duh. (You can do this with both digital  and film but for younger kids, you might want to use a digital camera so you can show the results right away.)
  • But you need one where you you can control the shutter speed OR the ability to leave the shutter open for as long as you press the button.
  • You will also need a light source. A small flashlight will do but spinning lights and sparklers are great once you get the hang of it.
  • Next, you need a room that you can make completely dark. Any random light will comprise your image.
  • The next step is to set the camera up on a steady base. A tripod is best but a table or tall chair will work just fine.
  • It helps to be wearing dark clothes but it’s not necessary.

Now you’re ready to paint!

Step 1 – click the shutter

Step 2 – move into position and turn on or ignite your light source

Step 3 – start making shapes like you’re drawing figures in the air.  Any shape will do and you can start and stop lines by turning the light off.

Step 4 – close the shutter or wait for the time to elapse.

Step 5 – enjoy your work!!

Here is what we did in about 10 minutes:

First I tried to make an “H” in a circle but I was to high…IMG_6076

Then I went for Lotus Flower type design!IMG_6077

The Lady C tried her hand at it…
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Lastly I made a house with chimney smoke!IMG_6079

Like I said. It took 10 minutes but it was a ton of fun that we can do again easily.

What indoor activities do you love the most?

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Not a Pinterest Dad

So I’m on Pinterest all the time. I use it mostly for inspiration & tutorials for photography and for keeping up with gadgets and innovations. However, there is no escaping the multitude of examples of parents doing amazing things for their children. The one you see the most are the parents who make their children’s meals look like works of art! You’ve seen this: plates of vegetables in the shape of a face, Disney shaped pancakes, or watermelons carved in the Matterhorn. They make the meager pancakes that we feed to our children look like crap that we peeled off the bottom of a donkey’s butt. Who are these people and how do they have the time to create a mini bits of art work on the baggies that they pack their kid’s lunch in (and actual thing. Observe.)? I barely have enough time to reheat the pancakes I made a few days before. Or do I? I decided to stage an experiment:

Lady C likes the same thing every morning: pancakes. Sometimes we add fruit but it’s pretty much pancakes – Monday through Friday.  So I tried something new. Every morning I cut up her pancakes and arranged them in a pattern. I even added fruit and and stuff to jazz it up. Check it out:

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So do you want to know what I found out? THE KID COULDN’T CARE LESS!!!  Never once a mention of “Hey Daddy. That looks like a sun” or “Wow Daddy! That’s a cool pattern”. Nuffin!  It proved one thing to me: most of the time when parents are putting in all this effort, the children don’t really care. So Lady C is back to having her pancakes cut into eights randomly on the plate. She’ll be fine without the Picasso impressions.

What’s your opinion? Are you a Pinterest mom or dad? If you are, how do you carve out the time?

Fearless Scaredy Cats!

So we’ve discussed Lady C’s crippling fear of all things creepy crawly (Update: she’s doing much better. Freak outs are to a minimum now). The kid is a afraid of bugs like ants, things that you can squash with a pinky finger. But that’s where it ends. The things that I would expect for her to be afraid of, she is fearless with!

We were in the subway one time and Lady C points out an ever-present member of the vermin population of the underground and says, “Awww look at the cute rat!” Really!!??! Ants freak you out but this brown scurrying, long tailed, scourge of NY travelers doesn’t phase you? (side note: I am typing this through fingers covering my eyes and Lady C sitting on my shoulders. If only we had furniture!) And her sister is the same way by the way!

Lady C and H both love dogs. That’s fine and cute but it’s not just the little lap dogs. It’s every dog and in every size. I took them to the park to fly kites and Lady H makes a beeline to some dogs that she sees:
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Now I’m a grown man and I can tell that these aren’t small dogs so my protective instinct kicks in. The absolute opposite happens for my two girls! Forget the kite, let’s go pet the dogs!! As they get closer, they start to realize that the dogs aren’t just big dogs, they’re HUGE!!  No matter. There’s PETTING to be done!

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As you can see these dogs are taller than they are and are curious. I don’t know about you but if I ran into an animal that was taller than I was and looks like it could swallow me, I’d be cautious! Nope! Not these two. They pet them, the dogs licked them, and at one point I think someone asked to ride one (can’t take them nowhere).

Any-Ole_Chocolate-Way, the moral of this story is that kids can be such Scaredy Cats in one instance and be totally fearless in another.

Do you have similar stories or are my children strange (rhetorical question, of course)???

Daddy Problem #4 – The play dates

I’m an involved dad. I don’t babysit my kids. They’re my kids. When they’re with me, they’re with their parent so it’s not babysitting. It’s that mentality that is ever present whenever I leave the house with any one or both of my girls. I will admit though, I am hypersensitive to when people apparently treat me differently when I am the parent present. Sometimes I think people are trying to figure out whether I’m the manny or if that’s actually my kid (gasp! A black father taking his kid out and having a good time! Alert the propaganda machine!).  Anyway, there is situation where I am not imagining things: getting invited to play dates.

Frequently, my mother, mother-in-law or my wife take Lady C to the park, museum, playground, or somewhere with other children.  It is guaranteed that they will be approached by one of the parents of the children that Lady C is playing with to have a follow-up play date. We have had many conversations about the reason that she was in such high “demand” for play dates but that’s a blog for another time. Whatever the reason, Lady C had a very busy social calendar thanks to the playground connections.

It is a different experience when Daddy takes Lady C to the playground!! Well, not on her part. Definitely on mine though. Lady C interacts with as many kids when she is with me as she does when she was with the women but I never receive an invitation to have a subsequent rendezvous. Frankly, no-one even speaks to me on the playground! And it happens everywhere I take the kid.

I’ve wondered if the man in the playground is creepy? Were the women with children afraid to invite Lady C lest they invite a strange man into their home or give their number to one? I never get an invitation from strangers and even got shaded by one of the parents in a program that Lady C was in. She knew me as the person who dropped Lady C off all the time and wanted her to have a play date with her child. She mentioned it and then asked WHO she should talk to to set that up. ME, I replied!! ME!

Women, have you ever approached a father in the park to set up a play date? Am I imagining things? Fathers, have you experienced the same thing? Soon I will have the same occasions with Lady H. Is there any advice to avoid this happening again? Looking forward to your comments.