Daddy… What Does Everyone Hate Donald Trump?


My 7-year-old daughter asked me this question in the car the other day;

“Daddy, why does everyone hate Donald Trump?”

Seeking an age appropriate response, I paused then said, “Because he is disrespectful to women.”

My daughter then replied; “Oh, so he’s like Miles in my class. He’s disrespectful to us. He calls all the girls monkeys.”

“Ummm… Yup.”

How Cursive is Better than Cursing!


There are times when I feel that my wife and I are the cool kids in town and that everyone else either sucks or do not understand us or our children.  I mean, come on… tax, science… Who wouldn’t want to hang out with us to discuss those thrilling topics?!?

Then I think about our kids, and how they will view us when they are older and know better, or how others view them and their quirks and oddities… I hope others will find their quirkiness playful and fun, and now strange or odd.  Then again, I hope my kids are comfortable enough in their own skin to not care what others think.

So where is this going?

Ah, yes…

How we’re so cool.  lol.

Well, we had 2 great families over for Shabbat dinner Friday night and after eating, drinking, laughing and talking, we moved from the kitchen over to the family room to continue with the great conversation, while the kids practiced their cursive writing.

Yes.

The kids practiced their cursive writing… On their own.  For fun… Together… 6 of the 7 children present.

cursivebook

I know!

What got the cursive kick started in our household is the fact that cursive writing is part of the grade 3 curriculum in Ontario, so with Stewie in Grade 3, it only made sense that he would be eager to practice every waking moment, right?  Well not only does he practice his cursive writing, but he also created a cursive writing book for his (just turned 5-year-old) little sister.  This book has the letters in the same way he learned them, however, he also added some fun cursive-games which are completely age appropriate.

More so, having looked through this book, I can say that it is quite amazing what this little girl has managed to produce and if she keeps it up, her Senior kindergarten teachers will be quite impressed.

So now imagine, 6 adults driving coffee and chatting about life, love, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while my son leads the other children through the cursive Olympics…

That’s cool, no?

It’s certainly better than cursing.  🙂

Daddy, I Don’t Want To Hold Your Hand…


Well, it took only 4-years for this moment to arrive and I was not prepared for it, but walking my daughter to school she saw a teacher and a couple of her friends and she let go of my hand.

“Take my hand.” I said.

“I don’t want to hold your hand, daddy” was her reply.

“Oh.  Is it because your friends might see?”

“I just don’t”, she said.

I’m not going to force her to do anything she does not want to do.  She’s getting to be a big girl, so I walked beside her to the school doors, squatted down beside her, gave her a big hug and said, “I love you.”

 

Hmmmm…

 

Not ready for that moment, I have to say.

I remember when my oldest boy did that to me the first time.  I protested, and said, “Fine, just give me a hug.”

In front of his friends he refused to, so in a loud voice and a smile on my face – looking at his friends – I said, “Bye sweetheart.  I love you!” and I have him the biggest kiss possible.

We all laughed.

 

Walking home from school, my 2 youngest ran ahead, and I told this story to my oldest.

He said to me; “I’ll hold your hand, daddy”.

… and that was how we walked home.

 

 

Parenting Frustration 101: Paralysis by Analysis


Being a father of three children is a lot of work.

Work that I love to do more than anything else in the world, but with this work comes the real hard work or the hidden work that gets little recognition, is not discussed at birthday parties between dads, nor does this work get or deserve high-fives among the dads at swim class.

The work I’m referring to is being consistent.

As parents we want our kids to be safe, and felt loved and supported and all that stuff, but if we don’t teach our children the right way to treat others and if we don’t set them up to be able to take care of their own affairs, then what are we doing for our kids besides providing food, shelter and love?

As the “helicopter generation” hovering over our children to keep them free from harm and protect them from a wanton stare from little Suzie or a mean word from little Billy, we do our kids no favours at all stuck to their sides.  We tell them to say please and thank you, and we correct them on everything they do that does not meet our approval but do they remember what we tell them?  If they did, why would we have to do it over and over again, so it seems, or why does someone in their class calling them silly crush them, but us telling them they behave poorly does not?

It’s because they hear our voices and they tune out.  No one wants to be corrected constantly, nor do they want to feel unloved, or disliked, so if our kids are in an environment where they feel any of these things, then we have to step up and act.  Not talk the talk, but walk the walk.

In The Urban Daddy household, we teach our children to stand up for themselves – without violence and without having to tell the teacher – to make sure that they are able to handle a situation now, in later grades, in business and in life. They don’t have to be mean, or demanding – they should try to be nice and use please and thank you, but they certainly do not have to take someone else’s bullshit or be picked on for no reason at all.  I believe we call this bullying.

Our kids have to be organized, and be part of a routine at school and at home.  Organization helps out our family unit and helps their teachers do what they need to do without my kids being a distraction or causing interruptions. Sometimes this is not possible as we are learning with 2 boys, but it is what is expected by us and taught to the kids.  If they are able to do this, they are expected to.  If they are unable to, then they will be taught it.  If they are still unable, they will be helped and hugged.  Never blamed.  Never made to feel bad.

But back to consistency…

Without consistency at home (and I struggle the most with this – always have) the kids get mixed messages and it throws them off.  When our morning routine involves a good morning, the opening of the shutters to let in the light, getting a glass of water to drink, a piece of fruit to eat, and then helping make breakfast and lunches, it messes up the children when the routine is fixed some days but not every day?

Even before the kids come down for breakfast they must get dressed, make their beds and on Monday’s and Friday’s made sure their bedroom floors are empty from toys they do not want to have stored in the vacuum cleaner.  So if they come down one day not dressed, they must be sent back upstairs to be dressed, so they understand the importance of following our routine.  Our consistency.

To be consistent is not something that can be accomplished in one day.  It’s a long-term challenge.

It’s also a long-term challenge when you work hard at home to develop a routine, have the kids buy-in, then be consistent with that routine, but when the kids go to school, or to extra-curricular programs the same does not hold true?  With different teachers, or teachers who do not understand the importance of organization and consistency, and that by putting in that effort in each and every kid, the benefit pays off ten-fold in the near future and for the rest of their lives.

Each and every year I sit down with my kids teachers to let them know what works for my child and what doesn’t. What should be brought to my attention and what should be handled by the child themselves. I do this so that the teachers know that we are on their side, we support them, and that while we check in often, it’s not out of concern for the children, but rather to ensure that they are learning, contributing and being good members of their classroom.

Imagine the surprise of finding out that one of these external providers of education are failing your child, and doing so in a big way.

Imagine the feeling of emptiness knowing that all that support and information your poured into the teachers and all the feedback you received was not worth the air it was breathed into.

I’ve been nice, and I’ve been kind and I will not give them the satisfaction of removing him from this situation and going out of my way to find him a new program to attend.  I’m going to fix this. We’re going to fix this, and at the end of the day, my kids are going to get the consistency, organization and respect they deserve and someone else is getting my hard-earned money.

The problem is that until all the pieces have fallen into place – whether we stay or whether we go – I feel like I’m in a state of paralysis by analysis.

But I Didn’t Get The Email…


“I didn’t get that email.”
“I never saw that email.”
“It must have gone to my spam folder.”

How often have you used any of those comments when you need to get out of a jam? We all know it’s a bullshit response, but we use it, it gets accepted, then you had better make sure that you find that email (usually sitting unread in your inbox) and respond to it.

But what if you really didn’t get the email?

Does anyone really believe you any ways?

This morning in The Urban Daddy household, my wife and I decided to run through our days after school drop-off (we have a lot going on, clearly) and she mentioned to me that she would be missing the kids swimming tonight.

Errr, I take the kids swimming… Me, and me only.

“Why?” I sheepishly asked, figuring that I clearly forgot some details about tonight.

“It’s parent-viewing tonight…”

“Oh” I replied, with zero recollection of this conversation.

“Didn’t you get the email?” was her reply.

Well, I did not get the email. I am not on the swim school’s email list. I have never been on that list, although I have been included many times and I have asked to be included even more times.

I’m not part of that club…

So we laughed, and moved on…

How about next week, when your son writes his math test through Spirit of Math.

“Huh?” was my response.

“Geez… Don’t you read the emails from Spirit of Math!?!”

“Nope… Not on that list either” was my reply.

I know I now have to get myself included on these lists, but really, after 5-years of swimming and 3-years of math enrichment, have I missed anything?

But I’ll get on the list anyways.