It's the feeling you get when you know you're locked into a battle of wills with a five year-old and you come to the sudden realization that you've gone over the edge. You go from wanting to find an amicable solution to wanting to win. No, you don't just want to win. You want to win big. It doesn't matter that your opponent is your child - the one person in the world you devote your life to protecting. Because you're no longer a rational, loving parent.
It's advice I first offered my daughter when she was learning to walk. As toddlers are wont to do, she'd trudge along on her merry way, gleefully indulging in any and all distractions that came her way. This led to many trips, falls, and bumps as she missed seeing whatever obstacle might loom ahead.
There's nothing more intimidating than a blank page. It stares up at you and all you can do is just sort of start.
On the good days the words flow. Each sentence feels like a masterpiece. You barely pause between the carefully-crafted bits of prose. You amaze yourself with your ability to write a long sentence that somehow manages to compel the reader to finish; clause after clause nesting within themselves until you feel like it may never end.
Note: For the purposes of this article, my daughter’s name is Rebecca. It isn’t, really, but we’ve tended to stay away from using her real name online and Rebecca is a reasonably suitable alternative for the issue at hand.
“She’s such a Becky.”
There’s something about my kid and that name that just seems to click. People meet her and agree that, yes, Becky is somehow the most appropriate possible name for her.
I mean, I don't expect every couple to geek out over scoring Kids in the Hall tickets or to gently mock one another's typos over IM. People are different. Relationships are different. S'all good. And hell, there's probably a lot of things Amy and I could do better. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that.
Nah, just kidding. This isn't an ode to a stupid little toy from some random dollar store. And do you know why? Because nobody loves those toys.
Yet they're completely freaking ubiquitous. They're everywhere. From rec centre vending machines to birthday party goodie bags, you can't go anywhere that parents typically go without a rubberized grabbing hand reaching out for you.
As a heterosexual white man in his 30s, I often ask what I can do to help make the sorts of change that need to be made in the world. And time and time again, I'm told that bystander intervention is the key.
Sitting at my daughter's intro-to-hockey program tonight I found myself watching one of the coaches. She was standing in the middle of a face-off circle while two or three of the kids skated around the circle. She'd call one of their names and the kid would attempt to pass their puck to her while continuing to skate. Then she'd pass it back.
I mentioned it was an intro to hockey program, right? Suffice to say, the passes were less than accurate.
Winter is one of those things that's easy to hate. It's the Nickelback of seasons. It's got a great big target on its back - which it hurt shovelling the goddamned driveway for the third goddamned time this week, by the way. From frigid temperatures to mountains of snow and slush, winter isn't particularly popular among those who endure its wrath.
One of the most remarkable things about getting older (and ostensibly though debatably wiser) is that you start to realize your childhood wasn't entirely typical - in that there's no such thing as a typical childhood. Everyone had different experiences and different influences.
You asked me because I was putting on a shirt with a collar - a rare enough occasion but especially since it was a Saturday evening. You told me I looked "fancy" and "handsome" and the smile on your face said you meant it. It had been a long day thanks in large part to your successful and over-stimulating fifth birthday party; we were all tired. You and mom had just ordered Swiss Chalet for dinner but I wasn't joining you.
I've never been much of a New Year's resolution guy. I'm big on incremental changes made throughout the year as circumstances warrant or demand. However, I'm also a creature of habit - patterns are a big part of my life - and it just so happens that the best time for me to make a change in my life is when I have a natural break in my patterns, usually when I take a week or two off of work.
December 31. New Year's Eve. Out with the old, in with the new. Kisses at midnight and resolutions and all that jazz. For those about to rock, you don't need my salute. Your night is going to be crazy either way. But for those at home with kids, I present the following:
First, let me tell you about my accidental collection.
See, many years ago my wife bought me a Transformers Mr. Potato Head (Optimash Prime, to be precise). The Transformers were just making their comeback to pop culture relevance and I greeted this wave of nostalgia as I often do - hyperbolicious declarations of the superiority of the good ol' days of children's television.
The kid's school had its winter concert this week. Her class performed three songs and it was, as you'd expect, adorable.
One song in particular warmed my heart so I asked her to sing it again at home so I could share it with you. Shameless? Youbetcha. But this is what memories are made of folks, and technology today being what it is (read: readily available), I recorded it for posterity.
A few years ago I had my first taste of truly fresh (roasted that morning, ground just before brewing) coffee and it quickly became my caffeine delivery method of choice. At the time, my wife and I weren't quite as dependent as we are these days (read: we hadn't had a kid yet) and most of our coffee was consumed leisurely, either over a morning paper on a weekend or in a coffee shop. Taking a few extra minutes to grind the beans and make the perfect pot was part of the ritual.
It started as a Saturday like any other: the lingering under the covers, the procrastination that often comes when one has one's face buried in their device of choice. But soon the hands of the clock pushed us into action. Gymnastics class awaited.
We got dressed, fed, caffeinated (me, not her), and out the door like any other Saturday. We got into the car and drove to the low-density commercial-industrial-mixed zone that houses the kid's gymnastics club without incident. We even remembered her water bottle - my record for which runs a pretty solid .500 week to week.H
I'm a fan. My wife's a fan. My kid? Yup. She's a fan too. We go to games, we watch on TV — heck we even listen to sports radio (well, I do. And the kid does by proxy when she's with me. Amy's not such a big fan). I grew up playing, watching, and loving sports and my kid is well on her way to doing the same.