2016 Year in Review

2016 Year in Review

Yes, yes, we all know by now: 2016 was the year from hell. Everyone cool died, which made us all sad at first, but then by November we were just envious of them. As we bid farewell to a difficult 2016, we can take solace in the knowledge that 2017 is likely to be much, much worse. Happy New Year!

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The Portable North Pole App: Now You Can Get Your Kids to Behave by Scaring Them With Santa Right on Your Phone!

The Portable North Pole App: Now You Can Get Your Kids to Behave by Scaring Them With Santa Right on Your Phone!

Each year when the calendar flips from, I don’t know, let’s say June to July – heck, maybe even February to March if they’re really ambitious – parents everywhere start trotting out the jolly specter of Santa Claus to browbeat their children into submission.

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My Four-Year-Old and I Have At Least One Very Important Thing in Common

My Four-Year-Old and I Have At Least One Very Important Thing in Common

My four-year-old and I are definitely not the same person. We have many differences. For example, I am significantly taller and I don’t cry nearly as much about sandwiches.

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An Open Letter to My Children: People May Try to Lie to You About Our World, Don’t Believe Them

An Open Letter to My Children: People May Try to Lie to You About Our World, Don’t Believe Them

I know you don’t realize it, but our world is a little turbulent right now. Probably not any more turbulent than normal, really, but the present and future often feel more frightening than the past.

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Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just About to Light Myself on Fire Inside a Wal-Mart

Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just About to Light Myself on Fire Inside a Wal-Mart

Sometimes after I drop off my four-year-old at preschool in the morning, the other two kids and I make a quick stop at the grocery store. Sometimes we go to Publix and sometimes we go to Wal-Mart, depending on how much self-hate I am harboring on a given day. 

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Just a Few Everyday Discussions With My Four-Year-Old

4 y.o.: You know what I wish?

Me: What do you wish?

4 y.o.: I wish that I could be a PJ Mask.

Me: Oh yeah? Me too. But I want to be the one that doesn’t dress up and just stays home and sleeps at night instead of catching bad guys.

4 y.o.: …

 ****

4 y.o.: I wish there were fireworks that you can just see but don’t make any noise.

Me: Yeah.

4 y.o.: Because then I wouldn’t be scared.

Me: Mm-hmm.

4 y.o.: That would be amazing.

 ****

4 y.o.: Why do they call these hands?

Me: That's just what they're called.

4 y.o.: Why do they call these noses?

Me: That's just what they're called.

4 y.o.: *asks same question for every body part*

Me: *falls asleep, wakes up a couple house later*

4 y.o.: Why do they call these shirts?

 ****

*Listening to 80s music on the radio*

4 y.o.: What does that mean? Everybody wants to rule the world.

Me: Like everybody wants to be in charge. Everybody wants to be king of the world.

4 y.o.: Why do people want to do that?

Me: I don't know. Power. Greed. Ego?

4 y.o.: Because it's nice?

Me: Sure.

4 y.o.: The Christmas train movie is my favorite movie.

 ****

4 y.o.: When will I be old enough to watch SpongeBob? I do like it.

Me: NEVER

 ****

4 y.o.: When you swim are you supposed to cover your nose and mouth with your hand so you don’t get water in them?

Me: I don’t know if that’s possible.

4 y.o.: But are you?

Me: Yes.

 ****

J: If we eat all the apples there are zero apples.

Me: Right.

J: If there are no trees left on earth there are zero.

Me: Yes?

J: If there is no sun there are zero.

Me: Ok.

J: I wish the sun would go away because it's too hot.

Me: But we need it or earth would be too cold.

J: But I like it cold.

Me: It would be very, very cold without the sun.

J: I like it very, very cold.

Me: Ok fine.

J: There is supposed to be a polar bear in the house at Christmas.

Me: ...

 

Don’t forget! My book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is now available for immediate purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and pretty much all of your favorite online book retailers. Paperback and ebook versions are both available. Don’t wait…everyone is doing it! (And by everyone I mean more than zero people.)

Parents Take Three Kids Under Age Five to the Science Center and Pretty Much Survive!

Parents Take Three Kids Under Age Five to the Science Center and Pretty Much Survive!

You know those weekends in August when it feels like summer has been going on for about a decade? Like somehow there was a disruption in the space-time continuum and the calendar just froze in place for a few weeks or years? But the calendar is the only thing that is frozen because the temperature outside hasn’t dipped below 90 degrees in several months? However, on the plus side, you know autumn is right around the corner and you will start to feel an ever so slight freshening in the air in only eight more weeks? Okay, twelve weeks tops? You know those weekends?

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My 4-Year-Old Asked My Mom About the Can of Coke in Her Refrigerator and Basically Cut Her Off at the Knees

My 4-year-old, Jacob, saw my niece, Charlotte, get a can of Coke out of my mom's refrigerator and he had a few pointed questions...

Jacob: What did Charlotte get out of your refrigerator?

My mom: It's called Coke. It's a kind of drink.

Jacob: Can I have some?

Mom: No, it's not very good for you.

Jacob.: Why is Charlotte having it?

Mom: Well, I guess a little is OK for older kids and adults.

Jacob.: Why is it bad for you?

Mom: It has a lot of sugar.

Jacob: I like sugar.

Mom: Yes, but too much isn't good for you.

Jacob: If those drinks are so bad, why do we have them on earth?

Mom: That's a good question. I don't know really.

Jacob: Well, why do you have them in your refrigerator?

Mom: ...

#Owned

Waiting

Waiting

We were driving home from the grandparents’ house on the Fourth of July. I was driving, my wife, Michelle, was in the passenger seat beside me. Two-year-old Bennett was buckled into his car seat in the second row behind me and little Olivia was right next to him in the middle. Four-year-old Jacob was in his newly positioned seat all the way in the back, in the third row of our SUV.

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What We Send Our Preschooler to School With on Theme Days Versus What the Good Parents Send

 Photo Credit: Sebastian Pichler (www.unsplash.com)

Photo Credit: Sebastian Pichler (www.unsplash.com)

Bubble Day

Us: One small bottle of bubbles

Good Parents: 10 bubble wands and an oversized jug of bubble liquid refill

Movie Snack Day

Us: Ziploc sandwich bag containing goldfish crackers

Good Parents: Individual snack packs for the whole class and/or two boxes of donuts

Valentine’s Day

Us: Box of cards (with stickers included!) purchased at 10:30 p.m. the night before at Wal-Mart

Good Parents: Home-made, personalized heart-shaped cards that say “O-Fish-Ally Yours” with individual packs of goldfish crackers attached

Puppet Day

Us: Finger puppets borrowed from a friend the day before

Good Parents: Full-scale replica of the Sound of Music goatherd puppet stage complete with the full cast of marionettes

*I may have exaggerated a little on one of these (only one), because our kid got sick and had to miss one of the days, but I'm pretty sure that's how it would've gone. The overall point stands: we seem to be doing this wrong.

 

Don’t forget! My book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is now available for immediate purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and pretty much all of your favorite online book retailers. Paperback and ebook versions are both available. Don’t wait…everyone is doing it! (And by everyone I mean more than zero people.)

Apparently My Four-Year-Old’s Preschool Classmate Found a Bunny on the Playground and I Don’t Know What Is Real Anymore

Apparently My Four-Year-Old’s Preschool Classmate Found a Bunny on the Playground and I Don’t Know What Is Real Anymore

Remember that game I told you we like to play? The one where we try to figure out exactly what goes on at my son’s preschool based on the little nuggets of information he drops? The game is called What We Know and What We Don’t Know.

Well, don’t look now, but this week I’ve got another exciting edition for you. Actually, you should probably look. Otherwise this won’t really work at all. And you don’t want to miss this one because even if it doesn’t turn out to be exciting, it will at least be highly confounding.

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Some of My Two-Year-Old's Favorite Activities

 Favorite Activity #9

Favorite Activity #9

  1. Opening doors by himself
  2. Pressing elevator buttons
  3. Getting his way
  4. Sitting on my head
  5. Wandering around in restaurants
  6. Opening and closing the garage door 
  7. Getting a water cup at Panera by himself; having me lift him up to fill the cup with water by himself; getting a top and straw by himself; repeating 17 times
  8. Threatening to put his older brother in timeout
  9. Feeling the baby
  10. Having a relatively loose definition of "by himself"
  11. Climbing on my back to "giddy up horsey" anytime I kneel, crouch, or lie face down for some reason
  12. Depending on the day and week, watching either Robots, Inside Out, or The Cat in the Hat at least three times a day
  13. Saying no
  14. Running “super fast”
  15. Marching with yogurt 
  16. Waving goodbye to any car that leaves our property
  17. Jumping on me when I'm sleeping
  18. Browsing through iPhone photo galleries
  19. Walking up and down steps in the swimming pool
  20. Walking up and down steps in general
  21. Microwaving his food because it's too hot
  22. Serving as de facto dictator of our household

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

It’s beginning to feel like a substantial plurality of my stories are set at playgrounds or parks. This comes as no surprise, really. The playground is the only place I routinely go with my kids for two reasons. First, it exists outside the confines of our house and, despite being quite comfortable, our house can start to feel kind of claustrophobic at times. Second, and more importantly, the playground is the one place that no one holds any real expectations for my children’s behavior as long as they don’t injure anyone or climb up the slides.

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When the Nightmare Comes to Your Backyard

When the Nightmare Comes to Your Backyard

For those of you who may not know, I have lived almost my entire life in central Florida. I was born in Titusville and the Orlando area is my current home.

I've had a hard time sleeping the last couple of nights even though we have a newborn and two other children under age five. Sleep usually comes easy when I can get it.

My heart is broken for my city.

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Fun Things to Do With Your Newborn

Fun Things to Do With Your Newborn

Having a newborn can be tricky. Primarily because at first glance (and perhaps second, third, and fourth glances) newborns don’t seem to do much of anything. I mean, not only do they not move around much or talk, newborns are even really terrible at holding their own heads up. Heck, I’m pretty sure I heard that newborns don’t even know that their hands and feet belong to them or something. So, what are you supposed to do when you’re in charge of someone who has no neck strength and can’t even figure out where their hands are?

Lucky for you, I’ve been through the newborn stage three times now and I’ve come up with a solid list of fun activities for you and your new bundle of joy to bond over.

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Party of Five

Party of Five

So far, so good. About a week into this third child thing and everything is going pretty okay. Perhaps the best part, which I stupidly didn’t even think about until the new baby arrived, is that I can now refer to our family as a party of five. This is really great for one reason and one reason only. Party of Five is one of my all-time favorite television shows and I’ve been really sad for the past sixteen years since it was canceled. I guess you could say this new family nickname is the first step in my healing process. It feels good.

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