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.  Yep. I’m going to fit an ear bud into my right ear, leave the other bud hanging so I can hear the baby monitor, plug into my phone, and queue up one of my favorite podcasts.   Then I’m going to grab an ice-cold Shock Top out of the fridge, twist off the cap, pour it into a tall glass, and drop an orange slice in there because I’m fancy like that.   Last but not least, I’ll flip on the TV, find a basketball game to watch, and start to go to town on that pile.  I’m going to dig in there with both hands. Grabbing and pulling towels, underwear, socks, shirts, scrubs, whatever. Because, while I live for laundry, I’m probably not all that good at it.   I understand the basics. I know that you dump whatever is in the hamper into the washing machine, put some detergent in, and start it up. Then you put the wet stuff in the dryer. Then you dump them on the bed and fold them like a damn warrior.   I know that you never mix whites and darks unless you want to because I understand laundry. On the other hand, when it comes to my kids, sometimes I feel like I don’t understand anything.   For example, how is it that whether we wake up two hours or fifteen minutes before time to leave for school we always leave at the same time: five minutes late?  Or why is it that my kids’ favorite hobby is slowly running their fingers through the black dirt that makes up most of our yard (I’m not much for yard work) and dispensing it all over their bodies? They do this all the time at every possible opportunity. All of them!  And what am I supposed to say to my 3-year-old when he refuses to put his shirt on because his “teacher told him not to” and he’s never been to school or had a teacher?  You guys, it’s so confusing! Sometimes I just stare at my kids and picture a giant pile of laundry.  “I know what to do with you,” I say.   Then I snap out of it and instead of a pile of laundry I find a shirtless kid eating a frozen waffle straight out of the freezer.  “I don’t know what to do with you,” I say.  So, I just wait until they’re all in bed. To pass the time or while someone is tantruming, I retreat to my happy place and fantasize about folding a fluffy towel into a neat square and placing it on the floor in the corner (where we keep them, obviously) or folding one of my shirts lengthwise and then rolling it up because I read somewhere like ten years ago that was the thing to do or, wait for it, pairing up socks! What a rush.  Yes, I’m coming for you laundry pile. You are all mine tonight. 

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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Simplicity vs. Connectivity: Parenthood and Childhood in the 80s and Today

Simplicity vs. Connectivity: Parenthood and Childhood in the 80s and Today

As the parent of three children under age six, I often wonder what parenting young children was like before the internet and technology took over the world. Now, when I am home with the kids—ages 1, 3, and 5—particularly on the seemingly endless and oppressively hot Florida days, we spend more time than we probably should watching the limitless supply of television shows and movies available on Netflix and YouTube or playing with tablets and other electronic devices.

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The Unexpected Anxiety of Fall Festival Season

The Unexpected Anxiety of Fall Festival Season

You know it’s coming. For some of you, it might already be here. Or maybe, wherever it is you live, perhaps it’s already passed. If so, congratulations. Here in Florida, though, it’s just about to start. Fall festival season. Also known as the time of year when my anxiety about disappointing carnival workers and going broke buying 25-cent stuffed animals for five dollars really starts to ramp up.

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How a Ubiquitous Parenting Mantra Can Mess With Your Head

How a Ubiquitous Parenting Mantra Can Mess With Your Head

Sure, there are moments of enjoyment and fun and wonder, but such moments are often overshadowed, if not completely overwhelmed, by the relentlessness of mundane household tasks and childcare necessities.

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I Took My Kids to Story Time at the Library and It Has Forever Changed Me

I Took My Kids to Story Time at the Library and It Has Forever Changed Me

I checked the library schedule by the desk. I kind of side shuffled over all nonchalant while watching 3-year-old and 1-year-old coloring on the paper-covered table. I didn’t want the librarians to think I was up to something. Like looking at the schedule, for example.

As I suspected. Preschool Story Time was happening. And the next session started in ten minutes.

BOOM.

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Family Dinner or Wild Bachelor Party?

Family Dinner or Wild Bachelor Party?

When you have three little kids, family dinner is a much better idea in theory than in practice.

Perhaps we’re just doing it wrong and we have no control over our children—I am more than certain this is what the internet will think—but our family dinners tend to be more wild bachelor party and less Leave It To Beaver.

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The Power of Siblings

The Power of Siblings

As I watched my three children — ages five, three, and one — play with and around each other in our living room on a sleepy summer afternoon, I thought about the central role sibling relationships play in imprinting indelible aspects of our selves. These relationships, our earliest and most visceral, shape how we place ourselves in the world, both in the present and future.

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My 3-Year-Old's School Is Scheduled to Arrive This Week

Photo Credit: Michelle C Photo

Photo Credit: Michelle C Photo

My 3-year-old said his school is wrapped in wrapping paper and is flying in the sky with his friends and teachers inside. It’s scheduled to arrive in our backyard this week, where it will land and take up indefinite residence. He doesn’t know his teacher’s name, but, not to worry, she knows her name.

The school has several very large garages that house all the school buses. Importantly, it also has lots of bathrooms and toilet paper. I thought last week was an Interesting week, but this week promises to be something else.

If you love this post, I have some good news. My book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is available at Amazon. And if you haven’t, don’t forget to like my Facebook page.

 

What Is It That I Do Again?

What Is It That I Do Again?

I once told my therapist that one of the most difficult, or at least confusing, things about being a stay-at-home parent is that although I always feel tired and vaguely busy, it sometimes seems like I never actually accomplish anything. Like, at the end of the day, when the kids are all tucked into bed, I often have a hard time pinpointing exactly what I did to fill all the hours.

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Baseball and Other Boring Things

Baseball and Other Boring Things

Strangely, as I’ve gotten older, my attention span has tended to decrease rather than increase. I believe this shift is largely driven by technology. I have a hard time watching a television show without checking my phone. My mind wanders easily. I’ve open and closed at least five different tabs on my computer while typing this paragraph.

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Thoughts on Riding Out Hurricane Irma in Central Florida With Three Kids

Thoughts on Riding Out Hurricane Irma in Central Florida With Three Kids

The days before Irma’s arrival were typical for Florida under threat of hurricane. I’ve lived here all my life and if there is one thing you can count on it is that Floridians prepare for hurricanes with flamboyant zeal. It is our state’s favorite pastime. Boarding up windows, buying water and snack foods, hoarding batteries, filling up our cars and seventeen plastic containers with gas: We love that stuff! In most cases, the preparation goes to waste when the storms veer off into the Atlantic or swerve into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps it’s a bit macabre, but you can almost feel a whiff of disappointment in the hot, humid air when the hurricanes turn away and leave us to consume ungodly amounts of granola bars in our air-conditioned homes.

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When the Little Moments Outshine the Big Ones

When the Little Moments Outshine the Big Ones

I certainly expected that first drop-off to be more dramatic and emotional. So, after the first day was successfully in the books, I figured we were out of the woods. I was wrong.

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Raising a Practical Jokester

Raising a Practical Jokester

My five-year-old, Jacob, is a master of sleight of hand and deception. There is nothing he enjoys more than savaging an unsuspecting mark with a brutal practical joke. Well, as long as the target is okay with it. And, even then, it’s good to take precautions to avoid any unnecessary mess or inconvenience. It’s important to take a paper towel or two along just in case there’s a mess that requires immediate cleaning up.

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Green Day Concerts and Facebook Likes

Green Day Concerts and Facebook Likes

Over the weekend my wife and I took a one-night trip to West Palm Beach to take in a Green Day concert and get one night of uninterrupted sleep. As we were walking into the amphitheater, I couldn't help but notice that I was the only one who had printed my tickets on card stock. Pretty embarrassing for everyone else. As it turns out, though, while card stock is undeniably classy, it is a bit hard to fold up and store after entry. Luckily, my shirt had a handy breast pocket that was perfect for the job!

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Will It Be Beautiful There?

Will It Be Beautiful There?

“Daddy! Daddy! DADDY!!” my 5-year-old exclaims from his perch in the back seat of our car.

“Yes, bud. What?” I finally reply. We are in the middle of a one-sided conversation about our impromptu trip to the fruit and vegetable stand and I am a little annoyed I have to respond since I have been listening to an uninterrupted monologue for several minutes.

“Is it going to be beautiful there?”

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What Are We Doing to Our Boys? A Clown’s Story

What Are We Doing to Our Boys? A Clown’s Story

I came across a story on Twitter in the aftermath of Charlottesville. I took screen grabs of it so you can read the thread in full. As you'll see, it starts out with "Hey everyone I'm a clown." Of course, after reading the first phrase I was completely in on the story no matter what it was going to be. The fact that she followed it up with "and here's my take on male violence in America" was icing on the cake.

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