I Am a Stereotype

Without even realizing it, I've become the Dopey Dad

I Am a Stereotype

In the beginning it was all so easy.

The kid watched three, maybe four shows with any regularity. She had a handful of reliable toys. She had her go-to books. It was manageable. 

But now? It seems like she's discovering something new every day. "Daddy, can I watch My Big Big Friend?" What the hell is a big big friend? Wait, what's she watching now? And why does that rolling elephant sound like Fry from Futurama

And it's not just television shows. Have you heard of Lalaloopsies? Did you know there were no fewer than 821 different characters? I do - cause my daughter apparently has each and every one as a miniature action figure.

And so it happened. I turned into Dopey Dad. 

"Well well well, who do we have here? Sprinkle Sugar Cookie?"

<Heavy sigh that has no business coming out of a three year old>

"No Daddy, that's Crumbs Sugar Cookie. Her sister is Sprinkle Spice Cookie."

"Oh. Well which one has the pet cat?"

"Oh Daddy, the cat belongs to Harmony B. Sharp."

It's at this point that she usually decides I'm too far gone and wonders off to find Mommy.

I remember being a kid and wondering how on earth my Dad could run a pulp mill but not know the difference between a Super Nintendo and a Sega Genesis. Or being embarassed when he'd ask about a band I hadn't listened to in years. "How could be be so clueless?" I'd wonder. Now I get it. 

Dad, I'm sorry. 


Business Travel: Escape or Abdication?

Business travel is in the eye of the beholder

Business Travel: Escape or Abdication?

I travel for work. Not nearly as often as I used to, when I used to try to parent via webcam several times a month, but even since changing roles earlier this year I still have to travel from time to time. This week was one of those times. And boy was it a poorly timed trip. The kid has been ... challenging, to say the least. Especially when it comes to bedtime (we're told that her difficulty is likely to due to a severe case of being three). 

Wednesday night, after another epic bedtime showdown that my wife had to handle solo, she (my wife, not the kid) admitted that she was feeling a wee bit of resentment given that I got to escape the madness for a couple of nights. At first I was kind of taken aback. The novelty of work travel has long since worn off for me and I tend to view each trip away as an abdication of responsibility. I don't like being alone in a hotel. I miss being home with my family and I tend to feel like crap every time I get an update on the madness at home because I'm not there to help.

But to Amy, I'm getting off easy. She's the one trying to wrangle the ball of energy and stubbornness that is our lovely daughter, I'm off in the relative peace and quiet that is my downtown Toronto hotel.

I hear a lot of parents talk about needing a break. Wanting an escape. And I totally get that. Hell, I wish I could send Amy away for a few more nights off myself. But there's something to be said for being at home in the trenches too.

I feel sometimes like I'm missing out on some parenting merit badges or something.


Top 10 Unexpected Joys of Parenting

A little over three years in and I've learned it's all about the little things

Top 10 Unexpected Joys of Parenting

There's a lot that's great about being a dad. The joy and pride you feel when your daughter learns a new skill; the heart-swelling awesomeness of hearing her first "I love you, Daddy." You take your lumps as a parent, to be sure, but almost every day there's something that reminds you how freakin' cool this gig really is. But a lot of it is, really, kind of predictable. That doesn't take away from it's power, mind you, but it's sort of ... cliche. 

Which makes the items on the following list even more remarkable. Not only are the following things amazingly cool, they are — for the most part — unexpected joys of parenting. The stuff they don't tell you in prenatal class.

  1. Arrowroot cookies - Remember, how much you used to love these? No. You don't. Because if you did, you never would've stopped eating them. We spend our first years stuffing our faces with these then for some reason we move on — as though there's something better out there. There isn't. These cookies are amazing. And when you have a kid, you get to discover that all over again.
  2. Having an excuse to make an ass of yourself in public - This probably needs no further explanation.
  3. Discovering new kids' shows - I don't care how old you are, the Backyardigans is a great show. Music! Adventure! Classic stories with a new twist! Notwithstanding Austin's confusing and unspoken backstory (why is he so often not outside playing with the rest?), the characters are interesting and the writing is sharp. 
  4. Rediscovering old kids' shows - Did you know Disney's Duck Tales (oooh-woo-woo!) is available On Demand? Of course not, you have no reason to be looking through the Disney channel's listings. BUT I DO. 
  5. Lying to your kids - Yea, I know, I wrote about this before, but seriously — shampoo is the poo of a strange animal called the sham? That story still cracks me up. The best I've done so far is to convince my kid that giraffes say "Hello, I'm a giraffe" just as cows say "moo" but I've still got time to improve on that.
  6. Play-Doh moustaches
  7. Not correcting the cuter mispronounciations - For the most part, we try to correct our daughter when she mispronounces a word or uses a word wrong. But calling any sort of lid or cap a "hood?" That's adorable. "Can I have my milk in a cup with a hood?" "Where's the hood for this marker?" Ditto for pronouncing the day after today as "to-MORE-yo." Where'd that 'y' sound come from? Who cares, it's awesome. 
  8. Foisting your tastes on an unsuspecting mind - "Hey kiddo, who's your favourite band? "Bouncing Souls, Daddy!" 
  9. Wet naps - Much like arrowroot cookies, what makes these bad boys truly remarkable is that these things are everywhere when you're a baby. And yet, as adults, we relegate them to tiny packages that get tossed haphazardly into take-out bags and first-aid kits. WHY? These things are awesome! Long before we had tiny packets of hand sanitizers we had wet naps. Why did we ever stray?
  10. Becoming friends with Erica Ehm - (Your experience of parenthood may vary) #HumbleBrag.