Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Choose the Dark Side - Guest Comic by Fowl Language Comics

I'm pretty excited for this one. Brian Gordan writes Fowl Language Comics, one of the most popular comics on the web. We met via me fan-boying his page a few years back, and after years of asking and begging he FINALLY drew me as a duck. OK. That's not completely true. I only asked once, and he was cool enough to say yes! Below is an actual, word for word conversation I had with my daughter after watching The Empire Strikes back. 

Guess what! Brian's first book of comics came out this week. You should buy it. Seriously. They are all short and easily readable comics that you and your kids will love. I haven't been able to get it back from Duchess since it showed up at our door! Click here, or on the photo of the book to buy it on Amazon. You can also find Fowl Language Comics on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

5 Dinner Table Rules According to My Kids

I have my own dinner rules. No hitting. No biting anything but food. If you don’t eat the crust of your pizza, dad gets first dibs. Stevie has her own rules. It’s ok to spill, but no doing it on purpose. Try everything on your plate before you get seconds. No electronics at the table. Whoever sat down first has to be the one to get up and get the kids more water when they eventually ask.
Our kids have rules too. They aren’t written anywhere. They are communicated through tears, screams, laughter, or worst of all, politely asking me to fix whatever rule was broken… over and over and over until I either fix it or go insane and die.

1. All Water Must Contain Broken and Fixed Ice  

We have been blessed enough to not have to bring juice and soda into our dinner table rotation. We just don’t keep it in the house. Our dinner offerings for refreshments are milk or water. Ever since our daughter discovered that there are two settings on the ice dispenser ALL water MUST have both “broken” and “fixed” ice. She doesn’t demand that this happens, she orders it like it as an item on a menu.

Me: What do you guys want to drink?

Duchess: Yes. Thank you. I would like a pink princess cup of water with broken and fixed ice please.”


Whatever she wants, her little brother wants too.


2. Whatever one kid gets, the other kid must also get. 

I learned a while ago to buy two of everything. We have two blue bowls, and two pink bowls. We have two princess cups and two monster cups. There is no gender assignment to our dishes, regardless of what culture dictates. Captain doesn’t want “boy” plates and Duchess doesn’t want “girl” plates. Duchess wants what Captain has and vice-versa. And GOD FORBID one of the matching dishes is dirty and they have to eat off mismatched dishware. Then Ms. Duchess gets all polite again


Me: Buddy, the other princess glass is dirty.

Duchess: Daddy, would you mind taking the dirty princess glass out of the dishwasher and using that brush you use in the sink to wash it for Captain. I think that would make him happy.

Me: Nope. He can drink out of the monster glass.


Duchess: Daddy, remember when you washed that other cup for me that one time. It was really quick. Will you wash the cup for Captain?

And on and on it goes. Yelling, politeness. Yelling, politeness. And then I wash the cup.

3. If the kids find a word in their Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Alphabet Soup, they get to fish the letters out of their soup with their hands and spell it on the table. 

They call it “letter soup” and while Campbell’s Soup is usually a quick and easy meal to whip up at the end of a long day, evenings with “letter soup” are always evenings with baths. Why? Because this happens.

Stevie and I have both fought this one, but by the time we catch on to what is happening it is too late. The handful of soup is already on the table. The letters are already spelling “Mom” or “Dad” and how sweet is that?? They spelled mom and dad with their soup letters.

Granted, that is Duchess. Captain also likes to spell with his soup. He spells “HM(Pea)L(Carrot)(Squished unidentifiable letter)” But whatever Duchess does… you know how it goes.


It is almost indescribable how much my kids love bread. You know how you hear those stories of really unfortunate families that have to survive off of bread and water. My kids would be so happy if every meal was bread and water. That is their dream meal. At gymnastics the other day my daughter’s teacher asked all the kids what their favorite food was and my kid said bread. Not bread with butter. Not bread with cheese and turkey in between. Bread.

Again, this is my fault. I also love bread. When I was little I used to tell my mom that when I grew up and moved out of the house the first thing I was going to do was buy a loaf of garlic bread and eat THE WHOLE THING! And you know what? I did. And you know what else? It. Was. Glorious.

5. If you fart or burp at the table, you must blame the dog. 

So this is totally my fault. I did it once and everyone laughed really hard. OK… I did it like five times because the kids laughed really hard every time. Then Duchess did it and we laughed really hard because it is cute when our kids imitate us. Then Captain did it. Then it was a thing. Stevie wants me to tell you that she has never done it. Stevie has never done it. (She totally does it. She also can’t read things I put in parenthesis.)

I know it’s not the most polite thing, but there is no going back at this point. If you burp or fart at the table you yell “RILEY!!” And then everyone laughs.

And then we have dessert… sometimes. Not every time.

- John

Wait! One more thing! 

Hey guys! This is my final post in my series for Campbell’s Soup and their #RealRealLife campaign. I want to thank the Campbell’s crew for welcoming me into their family and being great patrons of the blog. I love it when a brand contacts me to sponsor Ask Your Dad and I can open my cupboard and find their product already there. Another great part about brands I like and trust sponsoring my content from time to time is that I get to keep writing this blog and providing it to all of you for free. That means a lot to me. Anyway. Thank you, and thank you Campbell’s. Now everyone go eat soup!! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

All the Things I Can’t Throw Away

Since she could pick up a crayon my daughter has drawn every day. The first time she presented a scribble to me, I held it up and didn’t see a purple kind-of-circle. I saw a certificate that said, “Now you are a dad.” 

I used to look at colorful drawings hanging on the fridges of my kid-having friends and think “Meh. It’s cute I guess.” But when I held that first piece of art, I realized that it didn’t matter if it was cute. It was her. It went directly on the fridge. 

So did the second drawing, and the third. Eventually when the fridge filled up and a combination of gravity and crappy magnets forced me to take down the older ones I’d walk over to the trash can, look at it for a second, then walk away from the trash can deciding that the pictures could live on top of the fridge. When the top of the fridge filled up, I went and found a box… and another box.

I know. I had a problem. But these pictures were the glitter and glue covered footprints my little girl had left of a life where she could barely count to fiveteen. Every day they got better. An almost circle became a face. A face grew legs, then a body. Lines became houses. A sun. A moon. Planets. She was creating the world around her. She put it in crayon. I put it on our fridge. 

We were running out of room. 

Source: Lunarbaboon

As she got bigger her world took up more and more paper. I wanted to hold on to that first purple scribble, pull it close to my chest, and remember how it made me feel to become a dad. But when I did, I felt like I missed the fact that she rewrites that contract every day. 

I knew that they were just papers, and that the little squirt that drew on them had morphed into something even more magnificent. Still, I didn’t feel a sense of loss of my little girl when I looked at her drawings. I felt a sense of emotional geography. I could see how far she’d come. I could see how far Stevie and I had come. 

A few weeks ago, I was cleaning off the top of the fridge and found an extra stack of drawings I hadn’t looked at in months. I flipped through them, traced my finger over the textured wax, and smiled thinking about the look on her face when had I put them on the fridge. Then I did something that even surprised me. 

Instead of walking over to the garbage, pausing, and walking away, I quickly crumpled the handful of drawings into a ball and shoved them deep enough into the trashcan that I wouldn’t have the chance to see them sitting on top of the pile and pull them out. Then I washed my hands. Then I felt guilty. 

Then I didn’t.

In that moment I realized that what I had thrown away was just paper and wax. That smile. That smile on her face when I had thanked my little girl and praised her hard work. That was my art, and it was safely tucked away in a place much safer than the top of my fridge. I don’t have to look at circles and trees and suns and flowers to connect with how far we’ve come. I just have to look at her. 

I still have my favorites. They are hanging on the wall next to me as I write this. But now I don’t feel as bad tossing out the majority of them. They are not all art. They are the beautiful byproduct of art. They are leaves from a tree that has a very long time to grow. 

Instead of drawing last night, Duchess asked us if she could show off her sweet, new number skills by counting by fives to a hundred. Far be it for me to deny her the opportunity to count by fives. We put away the colored pencils and Stevie, Captain and I sat attentively. 

She did it so fast the numbers blended together. We listened in amazement as she hit a rhythm punctuating the “ty” on every other number. When she hit 100 she shouted it like it was the top of a mountain. ONE HUNDRED!! We clapped loudly for her and she did her proud little giggle. She stopped saying “fiveteen” a year ago and now we’re into the hundreds. She’s counting faster than our hearts can keep up. 

That’s a lie. We can keep up. We will keep up. 

Sure, I can’t pin her counting to the fridge or put it in a box, but she can pin our clapping to her heart, and that is a lot harder to throw away. 

If you enjoyed this post, read more! I have a bunch linked in the sidebar. Also, be sure to like the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page. We have a lot of fun over there and I promise not to throw away your art. Also, thanks to Chris over at LunarBaboon for letting me use his fantastic comic. He's a great friend, and an amazing artist. Be sure to check him out.