Dirt is My Parenting Kryptonite

Dirt is My Parenting Kryptonite

My children do plenty of annoying things, but perhaps the one that quickens my pulse the most is playing in the dirt. I have no idea why this is. On its face, it is a relatively benign activity. No one is in danger of getting hurt (for the most part, more on that later) and I don’t have to do anything until the fun is over. They have never once asked me to join them in their filthy games, which is a true blessing.

It is inexplicable why this mundane activity is my parenting kryptonite, yet here we are.

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Technological Jealousy: A Dad’s Lament

Technological Jealousy: A Dad’s Lament

On several occasions recently, my six-year-old has had me film him doing something fascinating like drumming on couch cushions, scaring his sister, or hitting golf balls in the yard so we could upload the video to YouTube and watch it back on our TV.

I can’t blame him.

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Puppets to the Rescue

Puppets to the Rescue

Recently I found myself at a local Barnes & Noble with my four- and six-year-old boys on a weekday afternoon. On most occasions, I would have been less than thrilled about this situation. This time, though, we were supposed to be playing putt-putt and an unexpected rain storm had saved me from that fate. 

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Eight Years of Tired

Eight Years of Tired

Today is my wedding anniversary. It is also my wife's wedding anniversary. It's ours. Together.

I swear. For the life of me I couldn't come up with a way to phrase that more succinctly. "My wife and my anniversary?" Sounds weird.

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Landscaping With Children: A Cautionary Tale

Landscaping With Children: A Cautionary Tale

It was a beautiful early April afternoon. The temperature was only in the upper seventies and the sky was a piercing blue. Early April is typically late Spring in Florida, when the mercury in the thermometer starts to push its way toward ninety almost every afternoon and the prospect of six full months of simmering heat and dampness begins to haunt my thoughts.

So, on such a fine day, there was little choice but to rush outside immediately after we returned home from picking up the kindergartner on his weekly early dismissal day.

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How I Overcame My "Super Dad" Complex (via Fatherly)

I met a dad at the park recently. It's not unusual for me to run into other dads out with their kids, particularly at the park late in the afternoon, but I usually do little more than nod or say hello.

This time, though, we interacted because our kids were the same age and they started playing together immediately. This guy was extremely outgoing and energetic. He was calling my kids by name after just minutes and later coordinated and participated in a hide-and-seek game involving our four children and several others.

Later, he spun the carousel the kids were riding. When he did, he sprinted and jumped onto the back of one of the seats, holding himself parallel to the ground as he went along for the ride.

At one point, he vaulted over the perimeter fence as he ran to help his 3-year-old at the water fountain.

Read on at Fatherly.com


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To My Second Born on His Fourth Birthday

To My Second Born on His Fourth Birthday

I remember your mom texted me while she was at work the day you were born. She’s a labor and delivery nurse, of course, and she was working in the hospital where you were to be delivered, so I guess if she had to be working when she went into labor that was the best possible place to be, but still, it was pleasantly quirky and remains a fun story that I sometimes think about telling people when I’m mingling at my numerous imaginary social gatherings.

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A Good Walk Toiled

A Good Walk Toiled

I went for a walk around the neighborhood with the kids yesterday because it was such a beautiful day. As is always the case, it began with high hopes. All three started out riding scooters or bikes. What a lovely outing! Soon enough, though, things regressed to the mean. We made it to the farthest point in our loop, about half a mile from the house, and the youngest two ran out of steam.

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The Things We Carry

The Things We Carry

A Paw Patrol jet plane, a pirate ship, a faded yellow tennis bag, a Publix bag containing a green Tupperware container of goldfish crackers and two thermos cups of water, one brown blankie, one gray blankie, and a giant toy boat.

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Tips for Surviving the Obsessive Stage of Toddlerhood (But Mostly Reflections on the Trolls Movie)

Tips for Surviving the Obsessive Stage of Toddlerhood (But Mostly Reflections on the Trolls Movie)

One of the more confounding child development stages is the obsessive stage. There you are, minding your own business, and suddenly your toddler becomes fixated on climbing in and out of a box. She will literally climb in and out of that box for three straight hours if you let her. And, why wouldn’t you? Just think of all the free time you now have while she is boxing!

Of course, as you probably know, there is a darker side to the obsessive stage: movies.

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One Night in New Orleans

One Night in New Orleans

I was walking down Bourbon Street on a cold night by myself the week before Mardi Gras thinking about intentionality, as one does.

The first full day of the Dad 2.0 Summit I was attending was, for the most part, in the books. I had a couple hurricanes in my stomach, and very little food, so I was relatively relaxed even after an exhausting day of peopling. This idea of intentionality pervaded my first day of the conference. Perhaps it was because, subconsciously, I was looking for it, but I felt like the importance of being intentional or purposeful in your parenting, writing, creativity, and relationships was being drilled into me by the speakers, panel members, and conference organizers and attendees.

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And Then There Was One

And Then There Was One

My 3-year-old, Bennett, started school Monday. It came suddenly. I returned from my trip to New Orleans and the next day we were walking him into school with his Paw Patrol backpack resting on his little shoulders. It was the same building where we dropped Jacob off for the first time two whole years ago. When we left Jacob the first day, he was fine until the moment of separation and then there were heavy tears. The teacher held him so we could get out of the building. With Bennett, it was more subdued.

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Cereal and Sweet Tea: On the Difficulty of Picking Your Parenting Battles

Cereal and Sweet Tea: On the Difficulty of Picking Your Parenting Battles

As a parent, sometimes you have to pick your battles.

Clearly, I’m not in the business of breaking any news here. Literally everyone on the planet has heard this parenting mantra. However, as is often the case, implementing such a seemingly simple strategy is much more difficult in practice than in theory. You’ve probably noticed in your experience as parents that there is at least one rather large hole in this little nugget of wisdom.

HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHICH BATTLES TO PICK?!?

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So, Yeah, I’m Heading to New Orleans Next Week for the Dad 2.0 Summit

So, Yeah, I’m Heading to New Orleans Next Week for the Dad 2.0 Summit

I started the first iteration of this blog back in 2010 right before I moved to England for a year. The new and improved re-boot took hold about three years ago, which coincided with the birth of my second child. Perhaps becoming a father for the second time was the boost I needed to finally accept my position as a (mostly) stay-at-home parent or maybe I was just getting bored, but for whatever reason, I started writing again. And running. I did that, too. The piece that got me back in the game was one I wrote about parenting and running that I submitted to Huffington Post Parents on a whim.

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How Al Fresco Dining Can Help Save Your Sanity (for Like 30 Minutes)

How Al Fresco Dining Can Help Save Your Sanity (for Like 30 Minutes)

Sometimes you just need to eat dinner outside.

Before we get too far into this, let me assure that this story is not a giant humblebrag about living in Florida in the winter. I’m not going to go on and on about how the weather has been perfect lately, crisp and cool at night and beyond comfortable during the day (except for a couple days ago when it was randomly 30 degrees we almost declared a state of emergency—Lowe’s customers were practically massacring each other to procure the last of the Duraflame logs). I wouldn’t do that to any of you stuck in the northeast or Midwest or Canada who are currently living in blocks of ice or igloos or houses made of bear skins or something (I’m unclear on the details as I don’t have much experience with cold climates).

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Kids are Right: We Should Celebrate the Little Things

Kids are Right: We Should Celebrate the Little Things

We had a birthday party this week. No one in our household has had a birthday recently, but that doesn’t matter. We were cleaning out the garage for probably the first time since we moved in three years ago and underneath all the lint from the dryer (our dryer vents into the garage, which is fantastic and I highly recommend it) we found an old cardboard box full of decorations from our now 6-year-old Jacob’s second birthday party. Inside the fuzzy box there were unopened packages of yellow and red paper plates, a birthday sign, napkins, whistles (awesome), Sesame Street party hats, and several bugs.

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I Went to a Brewery for the First Time and It Is My Thing Now

I Went to a Brewery for the First Time and It Is My Thing Now

Date nights these days are rare. Generally speaking, it’s too much trouble to bother with. Finding accommodations for three f̵e̵r̵a̵l̵ ̵c̵r̵e̵a̵t̵u̵r̵e̵s̵ little kids is difficult. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t game for it when the opportunity arises.

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Rewards Schools Could Use to Motivate Introverted Kids

Rewards Schools Could Use to Motivate Introverted Kids

My son’s school offered a special incentive to encourage students to use their online learning program during the holiday break. There was a note in my kindergartner’s homework folder that said all students who did 45 minutes per week during vacation would have a special lunch with the principals when school started back.

As an introverted adult who once was an introverted child, my first thought upon reading the note was, “Worst. Prize. Ever.” Regular school lunch was enough of a nightmare already with all the forced socialization, unstructured time, and eating in front of other people. And now that I’ve finally gotten into a workable routine after four months you want me to eat somewhere else, with different people, and in the company of principals? No thanks!

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