Posted in Berry, Daddy, family, Life, urbandaddyblog

A Change at The Urban Daddy Blog: Bye Bye Berry. Welcome Boo.

Change is good when it makes sense, and this change makes sense.

When my youngest child and only daughter, Berry was born almost 3 years ago I tried to figure out a nickname for her that would best suit her personality but as all you parents know, it takes time for the personality to come out and it’s ever-changing from there.

Yes, Berry is our third (and last child) and yes, she is the little sister to 7-year-old Linus and 5-year-old Stewie so we all knew she was going to be spoiled rotten but there was no way I was going to call her “Princess” or anything sickly sweet like that because frankly that’s not the way we roll.  The only princess my daughter is going to be – and you can ask her, is; “Princess Leia because she carries a blaster.”

So officially I am changing her character name to “Boo”.

Why Boo, you ask???

Here’s why, and sorry for the long-version…

On Monday night we returned from an extended vacation in Florida.  We spent a week at Walt Disney World in Orlando (we were there for a Bat Mitzvah and used that opportunity to plan this trip).  After a very hot, tiring and fun week we drove 4 hours south to Fort Lauderdale and spent the next week on the massive Oasis of the Seas cruise ship.  After that we found ourselves with an extra day in Fort Lauderdale before our flight home and Tropical Storm Isaac bearing down on the state.  Our flight back to Toronto was cancelled and the next flight out was September 1st (5 more days).  So at 3 in the morning we got up, threw the kids and bags in a rental car and drove 7 hours north-west to Tampa to catch a plane home.

We’re home.  Whew.

So what does that have to do with Boo?  Context, really.

During our stay in Disney we hit up an attraction at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom called Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.  I was skeptical at first that this kid-focused comedy show would be funny.  It was hosted on a digital stage by “monster” Mike Wazowski and this attractions essentially is a comedy club for visiting humans.  Inspired by the Disney·Pixar movie Monsters, Inc., the audience helps the “Monster of Ceremonies” Mike Wazowski and his wild and crazy pals power the city of Monstropolis—with laughter! (If you have seen the movie, you get it.  If not… Sorry).  Mike’s manager Roz, however, isn’t so sure Mike can pull it off.

The cool part of this attraction is that the digital characters trade jokes with audience members who can tweet in their jokes, or magically appear on the screen to be made fun of.  It was actually quite funny.

At one point in the show, they focus the cameras on a child in the audience to be Boo, a three-year-old human child who has escaped from her room from which one of the characters tried to kidnap her.  For the rest of the film, Mike and a character called Sulley try to get her back to safety.

The bad guys use Boo’s screams for power to run their world through the Scream Extractor until Mike and Sulley save her and in trying to get her back to her room, they realize her laughs generate more power than her screams.  Boo also overcomes her fear of monsters.

Here is Boo;

coincidentally, Berry had pigtails that day, and well at almost three-years-old with brown hair, she was a dead ringer for the Boo character and after seeing herself on the huge screen, she smiled, shrugged her shoulders in a flirty-way and the audience let out a giant “Awwwwwwwww.”

She was SO cute!

When we were walking through the park, I heard someone say; “Look.  That’s Boo from the show.”

Below is a link to the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor show that I found on YouTube.  Have a look at the clip if you wish to see how they picked people from the audience to interact with, make fun of and engage in order to get as much laughter from the “humans” to power their Metropolis.

This clip does not have a “Boo” in it, but you can see the size of the screens and how close (and clear) the people are that they feature from the audience;

So please join me in welcoming Boo to The Urban Daddy blog.

Posted in Berry, Life

Toilet Humour from a 2-Year-Old

Berries (Photo credit: SeanMcTex)

My 2-year-old daughter Berry has quite the personality and being the third child, she seems to have picked up the seriousness of Stewie, and the goofiness of Linus.  This was her conversation with a member of this urban family today when she whipped open the bathroom door and found them on the toilet.

Berry: “Are you peeing and pooing?”

Anon “Yes, can’t you tell?”

Berry: “The poo is stinky but the pee is okay.  It’s fun.”

Anon: “It’s fun?”

Berry: “You can play with pee, but you cannot play with poo.  It’s yucky.  You can make eyes with pee, and smile with pee and play with pee.  Put a hat on pee and take pee to the park.”

Anon: “You cannot play with pee, you cannot take pee to the park and you certainly cannot put a hat on pee.  On a pea, maybe, but not on pee.”

Berry: “SILLY!  Yes you can.”

Upon overhearing this conversation, I think I need to investigate this further.  I’m glad she knows you don’t play with poo, however I’m not sure if someone has been telling her it’s okay to play with pee or if she’s just showing her toilet humour.

Crazy kids!

Posted in Berry, Life

What I Learned on the Weekend: If you hold your breath long enough you pass out.

I learned something new on the weekend about my youngest child, my daughter Berry.

I learned that when she is upset (or hurt) that she holds her breath until she passes out.


But she didn’t just do it once this past weekend, she actually did it twice.

To say she had a rough weekend would be an understatement.

The first time she pulled this stunt she was already 30 minutes past her bed-time and was in the kitchen with me eating cheese strings as a before bed snack.  She was sitting at the little plastic table on the little plastic chair and I had to go to the washroom, so I asked her to stay sitting there, and eat and drink until I returned.  The boys were already upstairs in bed.

Did Berry listen?

If you said “no” out loud I’m giving you a funny look right now, but you would be correct.  She ran down the hall to see me than ran back into the family room, however from the bathroom, I heard a “THUMP” wich could only be the sound of a child smashing into a solid wood coffee table.

Then came the crying.

I screamed, Urban Mummy and the boys came flying down the stairs and with cheese strings in her mouth, Berry was holding her head, giving us the silent cry (I HATE the silent cry) until she passed out.

Worried she would choke on the food we sat her up and before I could smack her back out came the food and she awoke quite groggy.


Who knew.

I do know that it’s an urban legend that you have to wake someone every hour if you think they have a concussion.  That’s only needed for a brain hemmorage.  Pretty sure she didn’t have that.

Needless to say, I went into her room every hour that night to make sure she was still breathing.

The second incident happened when she was with me and she stubbed her foot on a toy.  The silent cry came, and while crying she held her breath and passed out in my arms.


Posted in Berry, Daddy, family, Happy Wife = Happy Life, Life

As a Father, if you’re going to disappoint some of them, you might as well disappoint all of them…

I wanted to post this last week when it happened but did not get a chance but since that night this scenario has come up over and over again, just not to the same extent.

The night it first happened, was a special night in the Urban Daddy household.  Determined to get back into some semblance of an exercise routine, I made up my mind early in the day that I would run on the treadmill that evening, by hook or by crook.

Since I’m still within my 3 month window of a new job with much greater responsibility, and the stress / excitement of meeting new people, learning new systems, figuring out acronyms and being on my toes all the time, I have found myself quite exhausted by about 10pm, which means that is around the time I tend to fall asleep on the couch when trying to; watch TV, read, blog, play Cityville, or… exercise.  Very unusual for me as I’m used to 1-2am sleeps with 6am wake-ups.

This night was exercise night and the beginning of a new schedule for me.

New Routine – Thursday night.:

Eat dinner with the kids (not unusual at all)

Stewie piano lessons

Give Berry a bath

Linus annoy mummy during math lesson

Then switch…

Linus piano.

Berry and Stewie before bed snack.

All kids in bed by 8:15 and I’m going to treadmill for 1/2 hour before I have a shower, then run out to grab milk.  I really want to begin getting to bed at a reasonable hour – it is currently 12:33am so that is not happening.

Then it all fell apart.

Urban Mummy wanted to talk to me.  We didn’t talk much the previous night and she barely saw me today and she wanted to chat but I patted my flabs and said, “Sorry hun!  I have to treadmill”.  She was disappointed.

I went to check on the kids and here is what happened;

Walked into Stewie’s room, and surprisingly he was still awake.

“Stay with me, Daddy”, he said.

“Sorry kiddo.  I have to treadmill right now so I can shower, get milk and talk to your mother before she falls asleep or kills me”.

He was disappointed.

I went from there to Linus’ room where he was sitting up in his bed too.

“Lay with me, Daddy and tell me a story, please”.

“Can’t buddy.  Have to go treadmill before mummy goes to sleep.

He gave me his pouty disappointed face.

Out I marched and right into Berry’s room where surprisingly she was up too.

“Rub my back and stay with me Daddy”, she said.

“Sorry, sweetie, I have to treadmill.  Sing for me and I will tuck you in when I’m done.”

She was not happy either because she didn’t sing for me and she usually does.  “Bla Bla Blacksheet”

Out I walked.

4 people wanted me to stay with them and 4 people got nothing.

Like I said in the title.  Go big or go home.  If you’re going to disappoint someone you might as well disappoint all of them.

Dads…  You turn.  What would you have done?

Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Berry, family, Life, Stewie

Are you hungrier than a 5-year-old?

Are you hungrier than a 5-year-old?

I doubt you are hungrier than my 5-year-old!

Let me preface this by saying when we moved 2 years ago into our new house the first thing we did was re-do part of the kitchen to allow for a much bigger fridge for Stewie.  The fridge that came with the house was not going to be enough for the 6 of us (Me, Urban Mummy, Linus, Stewie, Berry and our Nanny – let’s call her “Gamay”), but we were most concerned about Stewie!  This boy can eat and he’s only 5.  He’ll eat us out of house and home by the time he is 13-years-old.

For example, in the car on our way up to T&T grocery in the Promenade Mall in lovely Thornhill, Ontario on the weekend Ms. Urban Daddy was engaging the children, asking them what they wanted to be when they grew up when Stewie bubbled up and asked if there were going to be “samples” at T&T?  His mind is almost always on food.

As an aside, if you have never been to a T&T grocery store, you must go there!  There is a location in the Promenade Mall in Thornhill. and one on Cherry beach in downtown Toronto.  T&T is owned by Loblaws and they carry Asian foods.  Our children love T&T because of the samples they give out during the day and for the fresh dim sum and sushi they make which we pretty much always buy and eat for lunch or afternoon snack.

When the kids hear T&T they know they’re going to eat while we shop and since the samples are of things we hope our kids will want to eat, like tofu, fish balls, dumplings, and many other unique items we would never think to include in our very healthy diet.

Instead of buying a product, like fish balls, for example and experimenting at home, the kids can give thumbs up and thumbs down to them on the spot and if they like it and will eat it, we can buy it.  It makes a lot of sense and is a great way to expand any child’s food options.

The sample stations at T&T are usually manned and the kids know to ask nicely and in return they are given one sample to try unless there are different flavours and they want to try them too.  I won’t let them try coffee, or sweets or anything we will not purchase – like pork products – but we have tried some pretty crazy samples over the years.

The one sample per station rule works for everyone except Stewie – who already at 5 eats more in a meal that his 5 foot 11, 230 pound father (me).  At the store he tries pretty much everything and if he likes it – and if the food station is unmanned, he’ll eat and eat and eat until someone catches him.  He always uses a new toothpick, he’s a bit of a clean freak that way, and he’s not a pig eating everything he just casually takes another, then another with a giant smile on his face.  Free food!

That penchant for eating reminded me of our last cruise.

The last cruise we went on, when the off shore excursion was to the cruise lines private island, we got up, ate a huge breakfast, then hopped on the tender to the island.  By 9am we were baking in the hot sun, playing in the sand with the shells and laying on a raft.letting the tide take us away, when out of nowhere, Stewie started to get VERY agitated.

It was not just past 10:30am and the anger turned to frustration, which turned to tears.

We brought him back to the beach chair and spoke with him about what was bothering him.  The sun?  The heat?  The sand?

It was none of those.

He was hungry.

Fortunately, the cruise ship was setting up a lunch buffet on the island and were almost done getting it ready, so Ms. Urban Mummy walked over and came back with some fruit, some veggies and some water.

But Stewie did not want any of that…

So all of us walked over to the buffet and immediately, Stewie saw what he wanted.

“I want a burger!” he proclaimed.

“At 10:30am?” I questioned.

“Yes!  I want a burger!!!” he said, with his voice borderline agitated, frustrated and again close to tears.

“Okay” we said and by 10:45am after a huge breakfast 2 hours earlier, Stewie was eating a burger.  We could see his demeanor changing as he was eating it.  There were some blood sugar levels dipping here.  But good little Stewie was not done with his first burger… He needed a second one, which he ate quite happily if my memory serves me correctly.  He was still 4-years-old at this time, too.

Then after being burned to a crisp, we headed back to the ship for nap time for Stewie and Berry at which point, Stewie started to put up a stink as he was, “hungry”.

So I took him upstairs to the buffet and we sat at he ate yet more food.

Man can that kid pack away the food.

I should have seen this coming.  This is the same kid who at about 1 1/2 years old was sitting in his high chair at a family resort just north of Toronto eating a meal – soup I believe – and very slowly, when the waitress came and took away the inch left in his bowl.  He did NOT like this and spent the rest of the week with his head on a swivel and every time a waitress walked near the table – ours or others – and he would wag his pointer finger and say, “Never , ever, ever take Stewie’s food away”.

Possessive a little?

His behaviour there came to light in his little sister last week when we at dinner at Safari on Avenue Road in Toronto, when 2-year-old Berry needed to go pee.  She looked back at the table and said, “don’t touch my food”, “don’t let anyone take my food”, “I’m still eating”. and she kept mumbling “I’m still eating” over and over again as she walked to the bathroom.  When she returned and her food was still there, she smiled and with a look of relief on her face, she said, “Oh!  My food is still here.  I came back, and my food is still here!”.

But back to Stewie… There was the time we went to St. Thomas, Ontario to see and take a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine and Stewie was probably 3-years-old.  After a full day of fun we went out for dinner to – of course – the Mandarin Restaurant.  After eating a pretty large meal, matching me plate for plate, I went to get a soup to wind down my meal and with that soup I grabbed 2 teriyaki shrimp to eat.

Stewie finishing his second bowl of soup too, turned to me nd said, “I want shrimp!”.

How did he know what shrimp were?

Okay, so I went back to the buffet and brought him back 2 peeled shrimp.  He stuffed them in his mouth so fast, Urban Mummy couldn’t take a picture of him eating them.

He finished and asked for more.

After bringing him another 10 shrimps, we were laughing as were the elderly couple sitting beside us watching how much food this boy has packed away.  Figuring he should stop before he explodes, I brought him teriyaki shrimp instead but he loved those too.

So fast forward now, and we’re all finished eating, when Stewie after finishing his 32nd shrimp declares that he is full.

We gasp, and pack up the family feeling sorry for the Mandarin who made money on the few noodles that Linus ate but lost a ton of the massive amounts of food that my skinny 3-year-old just hoovered back.

That trait remains to this day.

Just last week Urban Mummy made mini-pizza’s for the family.  5 small ones for Linus and Berry to split, 3 for her, 3 for me and 3 for Stewie.  She ate 1 and a half. I managed to eat 2 – but probably should have stopped at 1 and a half as well, while Stewie ate all three and needed a snack before bed.

And yes, we have had him tested for worms.

He’s fine.

He’s hungry.

He’s a growing boy!