Ask Your Dad Blog

Friday, March 20, 2015

Our Candy-Free Easter

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

I think everyone naturally wants their kids to take after them. In looks, personality, kindness to humanity, that funny way you kind of half-snort when you laugh. It’s the narcissist in all of us. But there are those little things that you secretly hope your kids don’t catch on to. For me, it’s sugar.

Admittedly, I’m the sugar fiend of the house. I may or may not have secretly purchased a separate order of Girl Scout cookies that stay hidden at all times. I have a problem. But it’s not one I want my kids to get. It’s a problem and it’s one I try to keep well hidden.

We’ve tried to steer clear of too much sugar for Duchess and Captain. Obviously, that doesn’t work all the time. But we did successfully convince Duchess that Chocolate Milk was only allowed in Grandma’s house (it’s illegal everywhere else). Captain thinks that the serving size of Skittles is a single Skittle. Needless to say, we eventually end up throwing away ¾ of our Halloween candy.

While most of the time it’s easy enough to just not bring sugar into the house, holidays can be hard. They all seem to be so centered on how many different shapes we can form marshmallows and Reese’s into (there’s only one shape for that, btw. And that’s round. Every other shape is wrong. There’s a chocolate to peanut butter ratio issue. But that’s for another day).

With Easter coming up, I ventured to Walmart to see what kinds of non-candy items we could find to fill the kids’ baskets with this year. I skipped past the pre-packed Easter baskets and went straight for the Disney buckets. It wasn’t hard to find plenty of things to fill them up with! We got an assortment of Avengers and Disney Princess toys, along with a few other non-candy goodies like some seeds for the Duchess’s garden and a water color kit for Captain.

So what do you have planned for your Easter basket this year? If you’re also looking to avoid the sugar, here’s a list of 20 non-candy “treats” to help you along. Add more to our list in the comments!

1. Playdough
2. Hot Wheels
3. Bubble Bath
4. Party store grab bag items
5. Chapstick
6. Temporary tattoos
7. Crayons
8. Nail Polish
9. Sidewalk Chalk
10. Stickers
11. Watercolor Set
12. Kite
13. Seeds (to plant a garden)
14. Finger Puppets
15. Card games
16. Bubbles
17. Frisbee
18. Sunglasses
19. Books
20. Movie Tickets
21.   Water bottles
22.   Flash Cards

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dude, Where’s My Changing Station? I Feel Your Pain, Ashton Kutcher.

According to his Facebook Page, ‘That 70’s Show’ star Ashton Kutcher recently experienced one of the more unfortunate rites of passage into fatherhood: frantically looking for a place to lay your kid down and wipe their ass.

Any time your kid needs a diaper changed, it can be an intense situation. On rare, explosive occasions it is an emergency. In these more urgent moments, it is not uncommon to see a parent holding their kid out in front of them at arms-length, as if they are radioactive, or as if shit has breached the protective barriers of the diapers and is invading the multitude of spaces that shit should not invade.

It is this scenario that I choose to picture Kelso in as he runs into the bathroom of some unnamed LA restaurant only to find a cold marble countertop, soap dispensers, and a couple lonely urinals. I know how you feel, Ashton. I have been there too. It is infuriating.

Continue reading on Lifetime Moms...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why Amazon Should Change “Amazon Mom” to “Amazon Family”

When I told my wife that me and a few of my buddies were going to try to get Amazon Mom, the division of Amazon that markets to parents, to change their name to Amazon Family, she rolled her eyes. I understand why. It seems a bit nit-picky, and there are definitely many other issues out there we could pick from. But she could see from the look on my face that it meant a lot to me, apologized for rolling her eyes, and said “Why?”
It’s a really good question. Why throw our weight behind trying to change how a company spends their marketing dollars? Who cares? Are they hurting anyone? What’s wrong with moms?

Monday, March 2, 2015

How to Make Big Hero 6 T-Shirts

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigHero6Release #CollectiveBias

Mom here. Guess what we got? 

You all know we don't hesitate to throw a party for Duchess and Captain, so when we were given the opportunity to pick up the Big Hero 6 Blu-Ray combo pack, we jumped on it. When it was in theaters, John took Duchess to see this one without me and I have been dying to see it ever since. So I headed down to Walmart and picked up the Blu-Ray, along with a Baymax figurine for our Disney Infinity.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fear of Bad Guys

Image: Andre Rajoelina
It’s 3 AM and my wife is poking me in the shoulder. I don’t hear our two-year-old crying and our four-year-old has been sleeping through the night for a few years now. Maybe she wants to make out? It’s the middle of the night, but hell, I’m a parent of two. I’ll take it when I can get it. I roll over and start to kiss my wife.

“No, what are you doing? That isn't why I woke you up.”

“Then why did you wake me up?” I say trying to sound as unannoyed as one can possibly sound when woken up at 3 AM for anything but that one thing I don't mind being woken up for at 3 AM.

“I don’t know if I locked the garage door. Will you go check it?”

Oh. Now I have to try extra hard to not sound annoyed. Annoyance tossed on top of crippling anxiety makes a shitty emotional nacho at any time of day, especially at 3 AM.

It has always been bad, but lately it has been worse.

A few months ago some guy walked in the front door of a home about a mile away from us, grabbed their four-year-old daughter and walked back out the front door. The mom heard something, woke her husband up, who ran outside to find a strange man with his daughter wrapped in his arms. The dad frantically asked for his daughter back. The man handed her to him. Then he ran.

He was picked up by police a few hours later. If the mom hadn't heard something downstairs. If the father hadn't sprinted out front. I...  I can’t even finish this sentence.

Stevie hasn't been sleeping well since. There have been nights that she’s barely slept at all. So instead of getting frustrated, and instead of giving her my cute “oh come on let’s kiss some more” face, I head downstairs to check the garage door.

Once down there I unbolt then re-bolt it, sliding the metal cylinder loudly into the solid wooden frame. I continue wandering through the cold house in my underwear, checking each exterior door - unlocking and locking. I already know they were all locked, but I want Stevie to hear me checking. It is important to me that she hears me checking. Maybe then she can sleep.

On my way back upstairs I slowly turn the handle of my daughter's door, peer inside and see her sleeping. Her arm is draped over a stuffed Tinkerbell doll. Tiny little snores puff in and out of her nose. "She is safe." I tell myself. "She is safe."

I peek into my son's room. He too is asleep, snoring, and safe. "He is safe."

When I return to bed I kiss Stevie on the cheek. She's still awake, eyes wide open, listening. “It was locked. I checked all the other doors just in case. They were locked too.”

“Thank you.”

She crawls in close and lays her head on my chest. I close my eyes and try to hear her close hers. I hope her eyes are closed. I can’t hear anything but my heart pounding.

We always knew there were bad guys in the world. Now we know they can be ten blocks away.

Stevie’s not the only one who's having trouble sleeping.


“Dad, are bad guys real?”

Duchess is REALLY into The Justice League lately. It is a Saturday afternoon and we’re watching it together. During the action scenes we stand in front of the television while we both kick and punch the air. We are Batman and Hawkgirl. We are kicking and punching “bad guys.”

Bad guys aren't necessarily “guys.” They are the males and females and gender-less monsters who try to blow up Metropolis, or rob banks, or create an army of nanobots to invade Superman and take away his super powers. When my daughter is asking me if bad guys exist she isn't asking me if there are evil people in the world. She is asking me if Lex Luthor could possibly show up on Tuesday and request her assistance in slowing The Flash down long enough to handcuff him to missile and shoot him into the sun.

But when I hear tiny voice ask “Are bad guys real?” all I can see is a stranger standing in my front yard with her tiny frame in his arms.

“Can I have her back? Give her back please. GIVE HER BACK NOW!”

It’s an anomaly of course. Proximity doesn't equate frequency. We live in a very safe neighborhood, and I do believe that people are overwhelmingly good. I don’t want her to grow up afraid. When the world reaches out to my kids, I don't want them to flinch. I want them to embrace it. I want her to be fearless with her kindness. I want her to be able to walk to her car someday without threading her keys though her fingers. I want her to be able to sleep in a house with unlocked doors.

But there ARE bad people in the world, and I am not Batman.

“Dad... DAD... I mean Batman! It’s time!”

It's the part of the show when the bad guys attack, Together we start swinging and kicking and yelling “HA” and “OOMPH.” She spins in place and falls on the floor, reaching out for me with her tiny Hawkgirl hand. I grab her and pick her back up. We start punching and kicking again.

In her head the bad guys are flying away. In mine we’re just swinging right through them.


Thanks for reading. We're not always so somber around here. If you want some laughs stop by the Ask Your Dad Facebook page or read some of the related pieces below! 

 Also, fun news!  Stevie has opened up a cool little shop where you can buy high resolution digital prints that she designs. There are some samples in the sidebar of this blog, or you can find more at her shop Ollie Jo Jo. Go. Check them out!