Ask Your Dad Blog

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dear Crappy Parent

Image source: nalejandro (Flikr)

I see you.  

I see you sitting on park a bench with your iPhone out. Your kid is calling for your attention and it takes three or four times before you recognize that the “Dad” being shouted from the playground is the “Dad” that means you. You look up for a minute from whatever is happening on your screen, wave, and then go back the digital oracle in your lap.

I see you at the supermarket queued up with your kids. The older one wants what appears to be a plastic baby bottle full with liquid sugar. When you say no she starts to cry. You grab her by the arm, pull her ear in close to your mouth, and even though I don’t know what you whisper, I know it is bad because of the look on your kid’s face when she puts the candy back.

I see you at the restaurant. Your youngest has chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese for what I can only imagine is the fortieth time recently. His cheesy fingers are holding your iPhone and watching what is probably some brainless cartoon you use to babysit your kids because you are too lazy to pay attention to them.

I see you lose it at the mall. Your kid drops a soda on the floor and your anger is far more than the situation deserves. People stop and stare at you. Your words are loud and hurtful and I wonder to myself how much you are damaging your kid.

Here’s what I don’t see.

I don't see that...

My First Car

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for this promotion.  I have received compensation for my participation, but my first car memories are my own. 

I've been driving nearly 20 years now. I've been in two car accidents. I've gotten one speeding ticket (last week). I've been through five cars, none of which by the way, were built after the year 2000. Driving is a huge responsibility. You have lives in your hands. Not just yours and your passenger's lives, but the lives of those around you. When I think back upon what a selfish little turd-bucket I was at 16, I am remarkably surprised that my parents helped me get a car. Granted it wasn't a car, it was tank. It was a 1966 Chevy Impala.

Hello beautiful! 
That is not actually my Impala. My Impala had many more colors than the beautiful metallic green you see in this picture. It also had some matte brown and red worked intermittently into the peeling paint. The interior was rough and torn. When we bough it, the carburetor had a birds nest in it. My mom, my dad, and I paid $700 dollars, split equally three ways, for that car. I loved it... for about a month. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why I Love Disneyland and Why I Hate that I Love Disneyland

I had this post planned for a year before we went to Disneyland. Here’s how it was going to work. I was going to start with the moment, the Disney Moment. Do you know which one I am talking about? After a full day in the Magic Kingdom, we would find ourselves standing in the center of the park, Duchess on my shoulders, the light parade passing by, and the fireworks lighting up her face with dancing, colorful shadows. Her giggles would be muffled by the music. In my periphery I would catch glimpses of her tiny fingers pointing at Aladdin, Rapunzel, Ariel, Sulley. Stevie would be holding my hand. My son, exhausted, would be sleeping in the stroller. Everything would be perfect.  Perfectly perfect in every perfect way.

And then I would deconstruct the scene backwards. I would explain the cost of the “Disney Moment.” I would do some fancy math and show how much we had invested in Disney over the last four years to create that look in my daughter’s eyes as the fireworks behind the castle mimicked the path Tinkerbell takes in the Disney opening to every movie.

The numbers were pretty staggering. Every movie, every toy, every blanket and book adaptation we had purchased since Duchess was born… the park tickets and the plane tickets, the hotel (which was very kindly covered by my in-laws).  It was a lot of money. We had, and continue to invest a lordly amount in our daughter’s love of all things Disney. And we’re not alone! Millions of parents are doing the same thing.

Going in, I was skeptical that it would be worth it. We have family members that are infatuated with all things Disney. Before the trip I had never really understood it. I liked Disney, but it wasn’t the be-all-end-all for me. Within a few hours of entering the park, I, like everyone else there, was sold. I teared up when I took Duchess on the Dumbo Ride, it started, and she screamed “WE’RE FLYING DADDY! LOOK! HI MOMMY! I’M FLYING!!” I’d have given all my dollars to see my daughter bury herself in Winnie the Pooh’s giant soft belly.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer S'More Party!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LetsMakeSmores #CollectiveBias #sponsored

Mom speaking. Guess what? Summer's here! Ok, calm down, summer isn't really here. Not for two more days. But that didn't stop us from trying to will it here sooner with a s'mores party. With our marshmallows, chocolate and Honey Maid Graham Crackers, we are ready to make s'mores night! S'mores are a quick, easy solution for summertime snacks!

Duchess had her first s'more last summer and has been asking about them every since. We'd been waiting for another camping trip or big holiday but decided, what the heck? S'mores day every day. 

For every s'mores party, you need the classics: Honey Maid Graham Crackers, Kraft Jet Puffed Marshmallows and Hershey's Chocolate Bars. We headed to Walmart to get all our gear for our little shindig. Anyone can tell you how to make the classic s'more. Crackers, chocolate, marshmallows, add fire. Sound familiar? Well let's shake up your party a little. 

Try dipped graham crackers instead of solid chocolate pieces

Warm some heavy cream in a sauce pan and slowly poor it over some chopped Hershey's chocolate bars (equal parts cream and chocolate). And hey, if you're feeling crazy, add some whiskey to it. Why not? Dip one side of your graham cracker in your ganache (didn't know it now had a fancy name, did you? Now you do.) Let it set in the fridge for 30 minutes or so and you're ready to roll. 

Now add your fire as mentioned and nom them s'mores.

Use a small fire pit on a random Wednesday rather than wait for a camping trip

Create a tablescape in your backyard to make things fancy.

Inexpensive flowers are an easy way to dress up your presentation

Maybe chalkboard signs and string aren't your thing. But they are definitely mine. 

So tell me. Have you given that first life-changing s'more to your kids? Waiting for the perfect holiday? Let us know in the comments! Oh, and if you are looking for S'more stuff, just look for this display at Walmart!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dad, Am I Pretty?

“Dad, am I pretty?”

“Yes. You are very pretty.”

“Dad, what does pretty mean?”

“Pretty means a lot of things. In fact, it means different things to different people. It is kind of hard to pin down.”

“How do you know I’m pretty?”

What I wanted to say:

Because I get to see you when you are kind. Because your eyes widen and you smile when you see something you've never seen before. Because your forehead wrinkles when you are thinking really hard about something. Because when you get excited to do something you fling your arms behind you as you run out of the room. Because when I look into your eyes I see your mom, and I am reminded about how much we love each other. Because you climb on things you probably shouldn't climb on. 

You’re pretty when you ask questions. You’re pretty when I answer, and then you ask another question. You’re pretty when you squint in disbelief and say, “Is that real or are you just joking?” You’re pretty when you laugh at my answer.

Your face is pretty when you kiss your brother on the forehead. Your hands are pretty when they reach out to hold mine, when they take things from your mind and put them on paper, and when they take your excitement and transform it into clapped sound. Your arms are pretty when you wrap them around your mom, when you wave them in the air while dancing, and when you lay your head on them while reading. Your legs are pretty when you run and turn and jump and run again. 

You are pretty because you are alive. You are pretty because you are curious. You are pretty because you take the good parts of the world, pull them in through your ears and eyes and mouth and body, and shout them back out to me in action and voice, in everything you do. You’re the prettiest person I know.

What I actually said:

“I just know.”

“Oh! OK! Thanks dad!”

Then you ran off, arms behind you, feet beneath you, eyes open, too young to be worried about pretty, but pretty all the same. So, so pretty. 

Dad, Am I Pretty?

Be sure to come find Ask Your Dad on Facebook. We're all pretty on Facebook!