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

B with dragon.JPG

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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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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