Posted in Canada, disaster, family, health, Parenting, Recommends, school, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

March Break / COVID-19 / CoronaVirus Self-Isolation To Do List


March Break plans ruined? Travel plans cancelled? Activities for the kids also cancelled? COVID-19 has you in self-isolation? Keeping your “Social Distance”? Tired of hearing the “Corona-Time” song from Tik Tok?

If you, like everyone else, are running out of ideas for things to be because everything is closed until mid-April… What could you possibly do with the kids during an extended March Break?

Here at The Urban Daddy, we have some practical suggestions to not only keep your kids entertained, but keep you engaged, while allowing the kids to get a jump on their return to school without them knowing.

Here are our suggestions:

Reconnect with the great outdoors!

Walks, bike-riding, practicing sports, and helping around the house, digging the garden, planting flowers and raking the lawn. Get to know (Reconnect with) your neighbours. Have BBQ’s, do yoga, pick up some garbage in the community… All with lots of soap, hand sanitizer and without electronics.

Electronics – More than just for games!

While I feel that my kids are already in quarantine – they come home from school, head up to their rooms, hit the electronics and show up only for dinner. While Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Tik Tok, YouTube and Snapchat are fun, there is only such much you can do in a day, week, month, so let’s expand the use of computers beyond entertainment, and use it for educational purposes too. Have your kids learn about SEO, how to make websites, teach them to code, while you learn to code too.

The possibilities are endless.

Computers for Education

While the teacher unions here in Ontario might think that online classes are a REALLY bad idea, thankfully they’re not teaching our children, because with schools closing for anywhere from 3-5 weeks, or for the rest of the school year, we are suddenly seeing school boards heading to online classes to salvage the rest of the school year.

It only makes sense, and from what I’ve seen, some schools just needed a couple of days to move to online classes, while other schools were already ramping up.

I’m a huge fan of online classes and courses – I did my MBA online, and in this day and age, all kids should be familiar with online classes and courses not only in case of a global pandemic, but also in case they wanted to advance themselves and take extra or additional courses.

Get a jump on the eLearning train and sign yourself and your kids up for courses. My 13-year-old is currently in grade 8, but is working on his grade 9 math credit at the same time.

I’m working on some courses towards my Google certification and my Quickbooks certification.

Catch up on Family Time – Movies & Board Games

I strongly recommend family movies – stay away from movies called Outbreak, or that deal with the end of the world. Common Sense Media, is a website that rates most TV shows, movies and video games according to age appropriateness to help parents figure out what their kids should be watching.

Some of the games that we’ve played include; Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity (not with the kids!!), Rummicube, Exploding Kittens, Risk, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Carcassonne, Sushi Go, Chess, Boggle, Yatzee, just to name some more recently played.

Read Books

Nothing says getting a start on learning like developing a love of reading. Reading uses our imagination, helps us to learn new words, see proper punctuation, and spend hours doing something alone.

More importantly, in the event public libraries get shut down, there are plenty of resources available in digital format too.  eBooks, eAudioBooks, Movies, Comics, Music, Magazines and Videos. All you need is a library card!

A few years ago I introduced my eldest to the series of Dan Brown books – The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Origin, The Lost Symbol, Inferno, Digital Fortress (This one you can skip, Sorry Dan), and Deception Point. I read through those books in records time and so has he. We’re looking forward to reading the newest Dan Brown book Wild Symphony.

In addition to those books, any Star Wars book has also been a wildly popular with my readers – not just the books that the movies are based off of, but all the little series and sub-series.

Spring Cleaning

Nothing says time to re-do the bedroom – change over winter clothes to spring clothes, check sizing, and re-do parts of the house than having the time to do so. If there is a pantry that you wanted to tear apart and re-organize alphabetically, this is your chance! How about cleaning up the kids playroom and donating toys they don’t use anymore? Again, now is the time.

We’re in this for the long haul, folks, so make sure you wash your hands often, keep your hands off of your face and stay away from people if you’re under the weather. Protect yourself and that will protect others.

Posted in boo, Canada, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, Stewie, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

There are no words… Things that Make me Mad


I found this gem in my drawer. It was written by my middle child when he was probably 4 or 5 years old, maybe 6-years-old.

On the one hand, I’m glad that he only had 4 complaints and his mother was not one of them, but on the other hand… water?!?

Posted in boo, Canada, Community, Daddy, events, family, Happy Boy, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

What Has Your Child Said Which Was / Sounded Racist?


Recently, on CFRB1010am, host Jim Richards covered a topic about when children might have been racist – by accident or by innocence.

I would have loved to have called in and told my story, however, I was unable to, so when I arrived at the location of my next client meeting, I took a few minutes to send a tweet to his show, the Showgram, outlining my story.

They replied!

My story was good.

So I figured I would re-tell it here, and here it is:

Back in the day, when my oldest was just a wee little boy – around 3 or 4-years old, I brought him to a Toronto Rock lacrosse game.

After being completely infatuated with the music and lights in the arena, he turned his attention to the game and asked me; “Daddy, which team do we want to win?”

“Toronto”, was my reply.

“Are they in black?”

“No, the Toronto Rock are wearing blue, red and white.  The Rock’s opponents, however, were the Philadelphia Wings, and they were wearing black uniforms. I told him, “Philadelphia is the team wearing the black jerseys. We do NOT like Philadelphia. Boooo, Philadelphia!”

“Okay, Daddy”, was his response.

Then Philadelphia scored and he said, “Boooooo.  Boooooooo.  Booooo… Black guys!”

I spun towards him and said, “pardon me???”

“Booooo black guys!”

“No, no, no, no, no!” was my immediate response. “We don’t boo “black” guys.  We boo the Philadelphia Wings.”

“Booooo Black guys!”, he yelled, now standing up and at a moment where it is really quite in the arena.

I explained to him again, that it’s Philadelphia that we hate… Everything Philly… The Wings, Flyers, 76ers, possibly the Phillies… 

The crowd around us was laughing, hearing the dialogue between us, and knowing that there was nothing untoward intended.

“Booooo Black guys!” he yelled again.

Now being the superior parent that I am, I felt the need to silence him while I educated him, so I stuffed his little face with cotton candy and orange soda (bad daddy!) and I watched the sugar coma overtake his little body while I explained that we are rooting for the Toronto Rock, and rooting against the Philadelphia Wings, and that what he said was not very nice.

He looked at me… like a half-drunk adult, and said, “okay Daddy, I understand”.

And never a word was spoken for the rest of the game.

TRIUMPH!

I’m such a great daddy!

… and then he fell asleep on my lap.

As the game ended, we walked to the subway, little tired, over-sweetened child and I, and we got on a fairly empty car. and he laid down on the seat and had a quick nap.

As the subway car sped northbound, it emptied a little bit at each stop, until the car held maybe 10-15 people in it.

Suddenly a little head popped up and with his eyes wide open, my son asked me this, “Did we win?”

“Yes we did”, I proudly replied. “Do you like lacrosse?”

“I love the cross” was his response.

And then at the top of his little lungs, he blurted out, “BOO BLACK GUYS!!!”

Without noticing the 4 young boys sitting across from us glaring at us, I reminded him that the Toronto Rock wore blue and that we cheered the blue team, and we booed the team wearing the black jerseys, not the black guys.

Then I looked up and saw the boys looking at me for a second until they burst into laughter.

They understood…

He’s not a racist, I promise! He just doesn’t like the team in black at the cross.

 

 

Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Canada, Community, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

I’m Good With Faces… Names, Not So Much


When you first meet someone and they introduce themselves, do you remember their name?

If you are one of those special people who can do that, I am standing up and giving you a standing ovation. I’m super-impressed. I wish I could do that, but I cannot.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be able to do it, but I can no longer. Call it getting old, or call it a lack of paying attention, or maybe I’m just psyching myself out, over-thinking it, and as a result, I’m not going to remember their name even if it was the same as my own.

Back in the good old days, when I was working at the Canada Revenue Agency, I worked in an office that had around 1100 people in it, and one day, while walking into work, someone said “Hi Warren!” to me.

I had no idea who they were, but I said, “Hey…” and walked on.

I didn’t like that.

They knew me, but I didn’t know who they were.

I thought about it quite a bit, and realized that when I was walking towards the office I had my head down so I wouldn’t have to acknowledge anyone. I didn’t like that either.

That day, I decided to make a change.

I decided that I was going to walk with my head up, and if I saw a stranger on the sidewalk, I would smile and say hello, and if I saw a colleague, I would greet them by their name.

I order to do this, I would have to master the trick of repeating someone’s name when I meet them, and to ensure that I didn’t forget their name, and to show them the same respect and courtesy that was being shown to me, I was going to also learn something about them so that I could show them they matter.

From that day onward, I greeted everyone by name, and I would ask about something or someone close to them, and using those techniques, I was on a first name basis with almost each and every person in our building.

It felt great! I loved it because I got to meet and engage with so many incredible people and the hardest part of leaving the CRA was leaving the people.

That skill, however, has disappeared.

But a face… I will never forget a face!

Take last night, for example. I was walking through my eldest son’s school during their curriculum night, and in the crowd of parents, I spotted a face that made me stop and recall my past.

Way, way back in high school, there was a girl that I liked. She was new to the school, and I believe new to the country, and I recall wanting to help her get settled in the school by introducing her to our classmates, and the school.

Fast forward, and it’s the end of the year, and our prom is coming up. I didn’t want to go, but my buddy Wayne changed my mind, and I really wanted to ask this girl to the prom, but was very afraid of being rejected.

Dumb, right?

So I waiting until 3 days before prom, and I asked her for her number.

I called her that night and asked her to prom.

All I remember was her saying to me that it was 3 days before the prom and she didn’t have a dress, and it was very last minute, and it was at that moment that I realized that waiting until the last minute was a supremely stupid thing to do.

I felt like such an idiot.

I saw her the next day at school and apologized for being an idiot.

Then school ended, university began and all was forgotten.

Until last night, when I saw her through a crowd, at my son’s high school.

So, I walked up to her and her husband, and I said to her, “I know you! We went to high school together!”

Her husband said to me, “you haven’t seen her since high school and you recognize her?”

“Yup. I never forget a face!”

I was 30-years ago. She looked the exact same. Her and her husband have 4 children, and they are all doing well, and I told her about our 3-kids and I introduced her to my wife who was with me.

I did the adult thing. I needed to, especially after how I left it.

If you asked me what her married name was, I couldn’t tell you. But a face… I never forget a face.

Posted in Canada, Coffee, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

Dads / Moms… Is it just me?


This is a question for the Dads and Moms out there in cyberspace.  Is it just me, or is it necessary to identify yourself as a parent when you approach another father / mother with small kids and offer assistance?

This morning, for example, I’m waiting for a client in my local Starbucks and it’s fairly busy in the store when in walks a mother carrying a baby in the bucket car seat in one hand and holding hands with a toddler in the other hand.

She orders her coffee, buys her daughter a treat and then finds the only open table which has one chair placed beneath it.  She places the bucket on the table, and sits her daughter in the chair.

Seeing this, I know that there is a bit of space at the large rectangle table in the back and I could totally go there to work, so I get up, and offer her my chair.

She politely denies.

Then I start thinking… I’m in my 40’s, and what’s left of my hair is pretty grey, I’m in a grey suit, and I don’t wear my wedding band because it doesn’t fit my finger (hello 1st child 25lb weight gain – 13 years ago) so maybe she politely declines because I’m a creepy guy offering her a seat.

Then I remember that creeps don’t wear suits.

Work with me here…

So I tell her it’s okay, she can have the seat because I’m going to sit in the back.

Then the panic in her eyes leaves, and she says that she appreciates the offer but she’s waiting for her coffee then she’s jetting out of here to a play date.

That told me 2 things;  Firstly, she recognized that I’m a parent too and I totally understand how brave she is with a child in a bucket and a toddler – just leaving the house should be commended.

Secondly, she might not have panicked if I had started with something like this; “Hey, would you like to use my seat? I’ve been there – have 3 of my own – you might be more comfortable, even for a minute, knowing your kids are safe and you can wait comfortably with them.

Or is that worse?

Am I reading too much into this?

Or being approached by a stranger, the default is to reject, not to engage and protect the kiddos.

Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts.