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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Nighttime in December

Nighttime in December

It was a cold night, but not so cold that the boys didn’t insist on going barefoot outside. We were whittling away the sneakily long hours between dinner time and bed time by milling about in the driveway, playing with toys, old and new, and waiting for my oldest, Jacob, to finish drawing train tracks with a piece of bright pink chalk. I watched the last of the soft December light drop away behind our neighbors’ houses to the west. The jagged silhouettes of palm trees against the orange sky is one of my favorite Florida hallmarks. Cool winter evenings are pretty much the reason people choose to live in Florida. The air is crisp and there’s a certain quietness that descends with the sun. Being able to enjoy the chilly night air in a long-sleeved shirt and shorts is also a plus.

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The Measure of a Year

The Measure of a Year

On numerous occasions this year I inexplicably felt an overwhelming sensation of walking barefoot on the beach by the water. With every step, I felt the sand slipping away from under my toes. I felt the tide pulling away a few grains at a time. Shifting the balance of the earth under me slightly, almost imperceptibly, so that it was both difficult to discern the change, but impossible to deny it.

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Win at Yolf and Avoid Being Ridiculed by Strangers Passing By

Win at Yolf and Avoid Being Ridiculed by Strangers Passing By

When I was a kid, one of my favorite activities was yolf. In case you don’t know, yolf is a contraction of yard and golf and it is golf played in one’s yard. My two best friends, brothers who lived in my neighborhood, and I invented our version of the game when we were around eleven or twelve and we continued to play it with varying levels of commitment until we were like twenty-one. We were very popular in our youth.

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A Few Facts About My 3-Year-Old's Teacher

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As conveyed to me by my 3-year-old. **

  • She is allergic to cats and butterflies.
  • Her school is the building by Mommy’s work.
  • Her dad is a firefighter.
  • She lives at the firefighter place.
  • She likes to say “twinkle twinkle twinkle.” 
  • Her favorite color is pink.
  • She likes to break things.
  • She told him to do homework on the computer using WiFi. 
  • She gets her Christmas decorations out right after Halloween because she’s one of those people.
  • She chews with her mouth open.

 

** My 3-year-old has never attended school.


For more from Explorations of Ambiguity by Andrew Knott, like us on Facebook and sign up here to get the latest updates right in your inbox! My book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is available at Amazon.

I Found Out Why People Still Go to Malls

I Found Out Why People Still Go to Malls

Before last week, it was entirely unclear to me why malls still exist in the year 2017.

I mean, why would anyone voluntarily choose to leave the comfort of their home, drive across town through ridiculous holiday traffic, circle the giant parking lot in search of a parking spot, and walk around a crowded building just to buy things that are readily available on the internet?

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An ER Visit and How My 6-Year-Old Reminded Me I Wasn’t a Terrible Parent

An ER Visit and How My 6-Year-Old Reminded Me I Wasn’t a Terrible Parent

My 3-year-old broke his foot the day before Thanksgiving. He was “skating” around in his socks and fell. He might have hit it on furniture (that’s my guess at least), but it’s unclear because no one really saw it. He says he just hit it on the floor, but are you really going to believe that guy?

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We're In the Thick of It

We're In the Thick of It

I know having three young kids is a lot. How could I not? No one lets me forget even if I want to.

“Well, you certainly have your hands full,” says every well-meaning (if unoriginal) person I cross paths with anywhere in public when I have my kids with me.

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It's Almost Laundry Time

It's Almost Laundry Time

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the kids to be in bed tonight so I can pop open my dryer, grab huge armfuls of warm, fragrant clothes, toss them into a huge pile on my bed, and get to folding. I live for laundry.

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My Middle School Was Named After Andrew Jackson and That’s Not the Worst Part

My Middle School Was Named After Andrew Jackson and That’s Not the Worst Part

Several months ago, a certain person made some typically dumb comments about Andrew Jackson and his role in the Civil War (spoiler alert: Jackson died long before the Civil War). My first thought, though, when the news cycle spun out of control after the stupid tweet was “Oh no, now I have think about middle school for the next month or so.”

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The First Rule of Lego Club

The First Rule of Lego Club

If you’re looking to shake up your fitness regimen, I can’t recommend Lego Club highly enough.

All you need is to consult your local public library’s activity schedule, locate the correct room when you arrive at the appointed time, and bring along a 1-year-old. This last part is key. If you don’t have a 1-year-old handy, just let me know. I’d be happy to lend you mine.

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How to Buy a Car When You’re an Introvert

How to Buy a Car When You’re an Introvert

My first car buying experience came when I was twenty years old and it taught me one thing: buying a car is the worst. My parents and I traded in my hand-me-down Mustang (trust me, it’s not as great as it sounds) at one of those car sales dealers hold in strip mall parking lots. After about seven hours of distress, we drove away in a shiny new, forest green Mazda Protégé.

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