Surviving Summer with Young Children Is All About Letting Go of Control

Surviving Summer with Young Children Is All About Letting Go of Control

Ah, summer! There’s nothing quite like the heat, sun, tremendous thunderstorms, and long, languorous days. Of course, those days seem even longer when you have a toddler in the house.

I have one toddler left — a recently-turned 3-year-old to be exact — so I still have to get creative to help us avoid a summer swoon. Actually, that’s not true at all. I don’t get creative; I let my 3-year-old get creative and I follow her lead.

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My Children’s Stubborn Commitment to Ritual Can Be Frustrating, But I Admire Their Resolve

My Children’s Stubborn Commitment to Ritual Can Be Frustrating, But I Admire Their Resolve

Recently my 3-year-old daughter asked me to play a game with her. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse — literally, she was holding me hostage — so we went into her brother’s rooms because that’s where we keep the board games scattered around on the floor.

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We've Graduated: After More Than Seven Years, I’m Done with Diapers

We've Graduated: After More Than Seven Years, I’m Done with Diapers

Some graduations don’t require caps and gowns. Rather, all it takes is some comfortable toilet paper, a copious supply of Peppa Pig underwear, and a pile of very absorbent towels.

As of this week, I’m done with diapers. It’s been more than seven years, but now it’s over.

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The Tree and the Honeysuckle Vine

The Tree and the Honeysuckle Vine

“Hey, daddy! Look! There’s a turtle sitting by our front door,” one of my children announced excitedly on a hot afternoon in May.

Florida is wild. You can hardly set foot outside your front door without stepping on something squirmy or slithery. And while most people probably know about the alligators, the turtles, the humidity, and the Florida Man, if you don’t live here, you’re probably not as familiar with our vegetation.

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First Family Beach Day Means Summer is Here

First Family Beach Day Means Summer is Here

Around these parts, summer doesn’t officially start until our first family beach day.

I wrote last year about how we had to wait out a week of subtropical rain storms before we could kick off our summer. This year, there were no such weather delays.

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They Say You Should Meet Your Children Where They Are, I Think

They Say You Should Meet Your Children Where They Are, I Think

They say to meet your children where they are. Anyway, I think that’s what they say.

While I was playing with my kids recently, silently bemoaning my fate as I often do when they rope me into some confounding activity that I barely understand, this mantra popped into my head.

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The Hardware Store and a Butterfly Experience: The Ultimate Suburban Florida Weekend

The Hardware Store and a Butterfly Experience: The Ultimate Suburban Florida Weekend

I’m not saying I’m getting desperate, but I decided it would be fun for us to take a family outing to Lowe’s over the weekend. This may sound crazy, but I can explain. We need some new carpet, and anything beats sitting around and watching YouTube. Or so I thought.

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Soccer. It’s in Our Blood.

Soccer. It’s in Our Blood.

I didn’t play youth soccer for long, but I made a huge impact. I played just one season when I was five or six, but my unique style and flair is still widely talked about. By my mom, mostly, but still, talked about.

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And Still, We Rock On

And Still, We Rock On

Even now, he stills chooses the rocking chair some nights. I try not to take it for granted. He’s almost five and he seems to get a little bigger every day. He’ll be heading to kindergarten soon. When we lie in bed together, it’s not immediately quiet anymore. He tells me seemingly random facts that I finally realized he had learned at school that day.

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Stepping Back in Time and Reflecting on Life’s Different Chapters

Stepping Back in Time and Reflecting on Life’s Different Chapters

I’ve been a parent for more than seven years and it has really messed with my sense of time and age. On one hand, my children change so rapidly from week to week and year to year that it’s impossible to go long without thinking about the passage of time. On the other hand, I feel almost ageless. Certainly not in a narcissistic or boastful way. Quite the opposite really. My body feels the years, but my sense of self sometimes feels stuck in the past.

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My Daughter Threw Up in Walgreens and Now I’m a Drug Store Nomad

My Daughter Threw Up in Walgreens and Now I’m a Drug Store Nomad

I had just picked out my purchases when my daughter coughed once, hesitated for a moment, and emptied the contents of her stomach onto her tulle (maybe?) skirt and the linoleum floor

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The Losing is Bad, but the Taunting is Worse

The Losing is Bad, but the Taunting is Worse

Sure, she looks cute and innocent, but when it comes to competition, she’s cold-blooded.

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Exorcising Chuck E. Cheese Demons

Exorcising Chuck E. Cheese Demons

You might find this hard to believe, but I wasn’t a big fan of Chuck E. Cheese even when I was a kid. There was just something about it. I’m not sure what. Perhaps the fact that it’s a life-sized petri dish filled with every strain of virus and bacteria known to man? Yes, that’s probably it. Fun fact: There are a couple of bacterial strains that exist only inside Chuck E. Cheese. The “E” stands for Escherichia.

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The Art of Making My Son’s Bed Without Being Found Out

The Art of Making My Son’s Bed Without Being Found Out

Well, sure, there are many things you have to hide from your children, but making beds isn’t one of them, right? Wrong.

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The Art of Taking Pictures in Front of Other People’s Decorations

The Art of Taking Pictures in Front of Other People’s Decorations

You might remember that one of my children’s shared passions used to be wandering around the neighborhood looking at children to stare at. Well, we’ve taken our game to the next level this holiday season. Their new passion? Wandering around the neighborhood after dark and stopping to pose for photos in front of other people’s decorations.

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Driving by Houses in Cars: Passing Down a Favorite Pastime

Driving by Houses in Cars: Passing Down a Favorite Pastime

One of my four-year-old’s favorite activities is driving by houses of people we know. Not going to their houses, of course, just driving by casually. Peak drive-by time can vary, but it is typically right before or after school.

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A Tale of Two Treasure Hunts

A Tale of Two Treasure Hunts

My six-year-old made me a treasure hunt to complete one afternoon recently. Making a treasure hunt is the kind of thing you do on hot, stormy afternoons in August when it’s impossible to go outside and your dad finally makes you turn off the TV and electronics for a few minutes.

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I Changed a Flat Tire, So I Can Do Anything Now

I Changed a Flat Tire, So I Can Do Anything Now

There are a few key items every dad has to check off his dad list and perhaps the most important one is changing a flat tire on the side of the highway with your family in the car.

And, as of this weekend, I have checked it off.

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