Parenting

Webelos camp and the proud but anxious father

Camp trask fort

It is the eve before my son’s firstday at summer camp.   I get to drive him there and drop him off and drive away anxiously as he spends his week learning and playing with other scouts his age.  I think that I may be more concerned than he is.  As we were getting him ready, I made sure that he had his scouting 10 outdoor essentials, his webelos manual and some bacon jerky Incase he needed an extra snack. All I can think of is if he will be ok being at a strange camp by by himself (without a familiar grown up).  Then the paranoia set in followed by all the what ifs.  What if he wanders off and gets lost in the wilderness.  What if he comes across a bear.  What if there is a forest fire. There isn’t much more to write other than as every parent eventually does, I will have to let go and trust that my son can handle himself and take one more step closer to manhood by learning to be independent.  With a prayer and a hopeful heart I wish my best Bud a day filled with joy and learning at Camp.

 

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The return to fatherhood aka daddy part deux

It has been 5 months since I have posted anything.  Since the my family has welcomed a new baby and he has in turn welcomed us with sleepless nights, piles of diapers and a smile that never fails to melt our hearts.  Our 9 year old has turned out to be one of the best big brothers ever.  He is constantly looking out for his baby brother and offering to help with bottles and diapers

Both my wife and I are back to work.  God bless retired grandparents.  They watch the baby and help out with the older son. I guess familial bliss doesn’t lend itself to much adventure.  To make this intersting ill end this with Luco Brazzi’s famous quote from the God Father: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OgZ60tcT17s&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOgZ60tcT17s

Standby for more adventure such as:

The Cubscouts  and the trebuchet

learning weld from youtube

midlife crisis as viewed from a motorcycle

Wanna make 5 Dollars the hardway?

 

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Let’s get ready to rumb….ahem….birth a baby!!!

July 1, 2013AM 8:56

Skip ahead to the good part. Delivery went smoothly, wife did great. Best of all, our new baby is enormous. 9lb 1oz. He’s got a set of lungs on him that rival the scream from the singer of an 80s glam metal band.

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The manlydad adventure continue…with diapers!!!

July 1, 2013 7:25AM

Doctors just scrubbed in and I am waiting to be brought in for the birth of little Dequan,Chuck,Rigoberto

July 1, 2013 7:02AM

It’s go time

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July 1, 2013 5:41AM

Bleary eyed and exhausted after less than 2 hours sleep we are checked in at the hospital. Almost ready to welcome little Cornelius, Kanye , Jethro into the world.

July 1, 2013 2:32AM

It’s either the excitement or insomnia. Regardless of what it is it sucks. I have to be up in 2 hours and have not slept a wink. 3 hours until we are due at the hospital and 5 hours until I meet my new son.

Here is my strategy for staying awake later this morning:

June 30th 2013 11:59PM

Here is the play by play blog of the birth of baby <insert first name here> Right now my wife is resting and getting ready for a scheduled c-section in the morning.  So far the doctor’s instructions are no more food after midnight.  The first thought that comes to mind is…”am I married to a mogwai?”

“And will she turn into a gremlin if I feed her after midnight.”

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t-minus 72 hours until Manlydad x2

As I am sitting on -3 day before my new son is born I am left to contemplate so many things.
First of all, its been 8 3/4 years since I have had to deal with a newborn. The things that come to mind are how did the first one turn out so great considering I was a wreck. My only inspiration of fatherhood was Adam Sandler’s movie Big Daddy. If you haven’t seen the movie, here is a summary of the plot. An unemployed man-child pretends to be his roommate to adopt a child to try to get his cheating girlfriend to not leave him. In the process, he learns to grow up and eventually becomes a productive member of society. I am not sure if my story is the same but I do still act like a 12 year old man-child. I mean, for goodness sakes my 8 year old and I crack up at armpit farts and I am almost 40.

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Secondly, my first son and I were ready to start adventuring like big kids. I bought an off road vehicle, collected an impressive collection of fishing lures for every type of fresh water fish, and I taught him how to swear. Ok, maybe not the last one.

Lastly, we are almost at the moment when the new edition to our family breathes his first breath and cries his first cry. All I can think of is how proud I am of my wife for toughing out the past 9 months and the pride I have in my son who is so excited to be a big brother.

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I leave this post with the 2 occasions when a man is allowed to cry. When his dog dies and when his child is born. (I also hear that if it’s your party you can also cry if you want to)

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Cut your hair you dirty hippy…8 year old

Learning to cut your kid’s hair can save you a lot of money. It also requires a saintly amount of patience.

I decided to try cutting my 8-year-old’s hair and save the 17 bucks that the local Supercuts wanted for a haircut. 17 dollars!!! Whatever happened to “Shave and a haircut, two bits”? Anyways, after trying with my Norelco beard trimmer and giving him a bald spot, I decided I needed better tools.

I treated this like a weekend home improvement project and ran out to pick up a set of clippers, some scissors and a barber pole. We restarted the salon session after a visit to the local drug store where I found a complete haircut kit for $15. What a deal… clippers, a comb, scissors and smock. Thank you cheaply made Chinese goods.

After the 30th time of saying “stop moving around or I might cut it crooked” and “stop scratching I know it’s itchy”, we were almost to the promised land. I just had to try and get the side burns right. “A little off the left…wait… too much. A bit off the right. Dammit! It’s crooked”

We finally got it right and were even able to hide the bald spot.

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There is no real moral or lesson to this story other than in my old age I’m getting too cheap to pay $17 for a stinkin’ haircut.

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New York Times Tips on Making a Pillow Fort

Here is an article that I came across in the NY Times on Pillow Forts. May the forts be with you. (Yes that was awful, get used to it).

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/garden/lessons-in-the-art-of-pillow-fort-construction.html

-JD

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Getting kids to help out

I learned a few things during our last group camping trip about getting kids to help out with chores.

The kids as usual took off to go play while the Dads set up their respective campsites. Everyone tried to get their kid to help set up. Most the time the kids would hangout for awhile, then lose interest.

Being the curious person that I am I wanted to know why it was so difficult for some dads to get their kids to help out. A sample of those conversations usually went:

Dad: can you stop playing around and help out!

Kid: Ok (then stands around looking for something to do)

Dad: Stop playing with the tent poles you’ll break them.

Kid: (looking puzzled loses interest goes off and finds something to do)

I saw this play out at every other campsite including my own.

I decided to change tactics. I broke down each large task and explained why I was doing them. I had my son tackle one small task at a time giving him positive feedback when each was completed.

An example of how I broke things down:

Instead of “help me set up the tent!” I said, “lets work as a team. I need you to spread out this ground cover so the bottom of our tent can stay dry.”

As the ground cover blew away I told him to find some big rocks to hold the corners down.

Then I put him in charge of putting the tent stakes in the places he thought they needed to go.

Lastly, I had him CAREFULLY put the tent poles together while I spread out the tent.

Before long we were all set up and as a reward I told him to go explore a bit while I got lunch ready.

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The lesson I learned:

Often times we take for granted that people understand how to do a task when in reality they need help breaking down the tasks into smaller chunks so they can learn how to do something. For children, we have to make this as simple and positive as possible. I forget which ever movie I got it from but I often ask people to “explain it to me as if I were a 5 year old”

When I ask my son to help out, I try to be specific about each task until he learns each step and can do things independently. Checklists help until things become routine. Eventually, your kid learns to execute complex tasks and do them independently.

Try this yourself and share your results.

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