Welcome to The Urban Daddy weblog. Not your typical "Daddy" blog because I am not your typical Daddy. Originating from Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2004. Follow our exploits as we proceed through life with the odds stacked against us. Three of them and two of us.
I’m new to the concept of being a “hockey parent”.
A year ago my son could not even skate, and today he’s in a Learn To Play hockey league and he’s doing just fine, thank you very much. For a child who doesn’t like to watch hockey, or know much about the sport, he has become the complete opposite of me, who was a diehard hockey fan, but never played the sport.
Growing up in the Great White North, I never really learned to skate and I never played ice hockey as one would expect every Canadian man, woman and child would have. At all. No organized hockey, no shiny, I’m not sure if I was even on ice with a stick and puck more than once or twice in my entire life until I turned 20 and decided to help coach a kids ice hockey team (at 5am and 6am on Sunday mornings).
I helped teach the kids to be better hockey players – skill-wise, understanding the game and reminding them to be nice on the ice and not to play dirty or take short-cuts, and they taught me to skate. I had taken and completed my level-one Coaching Theory Certification for a Canadian Coaching Certification, and I liked the coaching which I did for 6 years until other things came along.
Fast forward to the children, and to my chagrin, my kids never took an interest in the sport so I was off the hook… Until last year.
Now, we happily take him to his practice / game and he loves it. (Although I still can’t get him to watch hockey on TV, or to call he puck a puck and not a ball).
But over the last couple of weeks he’s forgotten things in his hockey bag – neck guard one week, then his hockey pants the following week – so I made him write down the contents of his bag so he won’t forget anything from now on, and this is what I got:
Top of the page “Hockey”
Underneath the title started the list;
“Neck g” (guard?!?)
“Chest pad” (Looks like it was a chess pad first)
“Jok” (giggle – Jock)
“leg Protect” (or shin pads)
I added the water bottle, towel, skate towel, and pj’s to wear underneath). I also told him for the umpteenth time that in Grade 3 we had to pick French names for French class, and since my name, Warren, doesn’t really have a cool French name, I wanted “Guy” for Guy Lafleur, but my best friend – a HUGE Canadiens fan – chose Guy so I got Jacques. Jacques Strappe was name French name for the next 2 years… UGH.
Oh, and he scored last game. Could not have been more proud! Of him and for him.
Girls, women, transgendered people, even men… Leggings ARE NOT PANTS!!!
If you put leggings on and your shirt does not cover your bum, go home and change. Please.
Got that out. I’ve been holding that in since the summer. It really came to light when buying clothes for my daughter this past summer and still is a concern for me, and parents alike, I’m sure.
With the boys, it was pretty each to buy the same boring clothes for them; blue, brown, some black, some green. When the girl arrived, I thought we would be smacked in the face with a whole new array of colour choices and options. Sure, there are colours, but what is the deal with the choice of girls clothing available in some of these clothing stores??? low cut neck-lines, short shorts, and crop-style tops. There is NO way I was going to let my daughter leave the house in a crop-top style shirt with short shorts, or worse, leggings.
So as her tastes evolved and we were able to agree on styles of clothing she knows that leggings are not pants, and that no one wants to see, or needs to see her bum during the day.
As this post tossed around inside my head, I thought that all I would need to do is post “Leggings are not pants” and that there is an understanding that this is true, but the more I thought about it, the more I could not help but understand the longer-term issues surrounded by leggings, especially in young, impressionable children…
“What if I’m not skinny enough to wear them?” Does that come followed by, “I just won’t eat today.” Or is there a group ganging up mentality from the girls who do wear them against the girls who don’t? How about the girls who do not, cannot or choose not to wear them picking on a girl who wears them and shows too much…
Don’t think for a second that parents who dress their kids up in leggings don’t make a comment about their “ass”, and in the wrong child, at the wrong time of their life, could have long-lasting effect on their self-esteem.
I’m all for leading a healthy life-style (well, my kids more than me right now) and being in the best shape possible, but that shape is physical, mental and emotional. To place too much emphasis on one over the others can have dangerous consequences later in life.
So I call on you, parents, to please make sure that the next time your child leaves the house – if they have to wear leggings – that they have a shirt on to cover up. Then give them a hug and tell them they are smart, kind, friendly and beautiful.
Here is a flowchart to help them (and you, if needed) understand this concept further.
Editors Note: Apparently The Urban Daddy is not so original is there are Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest pages dedicated to this exact line of thinking… The Brooklyn Momma hit the nail on the head in her post, here. The flowchart is from her site.
Driving in the car with children, as you all well know, can be either a pleasure or a pain depending on a number of factors usually beyond our control as parents. In fact, children even have the ability to be educational or hilarious in the car, if they want, but being disruptive and difficult is usually the easiest.
Every now and then they say something funny, brilliant or even hilarious, which must be shared with the world…
A couple of weeks ago, while driving in the car with the children, our 9-year-old son, Linus began a rather short discussion with my wife which showed us that he is finally understanding the meaning of life and that – as we’ve been saying all along – life ain’t fair.
I had to share it!
Linus: “Mummy, you know when you find that perfect spot in bed that is so comfortable and warm and then, of course, you have to get up to pee and when you come back to bed, you cannot find that spot again?”
My 8yo son and I were in the car today when we saw about 300 birds flying overhead.
“BIRDS!!!” he blurted out.
“If we’re lucky, we will see them flying in the “V” formation as they head south for the winter”, I responded in my daddy-teacher voice.
“Why do they fly in a “v”-formation? Is it because “V” is the only letter they know how to spell?” he asked.
“it’s because the lead bird is the navigator bird, and all the other birds follow the lead bird and are just off to the side so that they can see where the lead bird is going and stay in formation.”
Sounded good, right?
Not so much.
My 8-year-old responded with this;
“Actually… The birds fly in the “V” formation for aerodynamics. There is less drag on the flock if the fly like that. The same reason airplanes won’t fly behind one another. They need to be able to stay up in the air so they would fly off to the side.”
Often, I see lists, like the one I am posting today, about things we want our children to know, learn, remember and respect, and these lists are often quite to the point if not a little on the comedic side. My Thursday Thirteen, however, is a little different from the norm as I have provided thirteen things that I need my children – Linus, Stewie and Boo – to remember as they grow up. On the bright side, if they ever forget (and I have not completely embarrassed them by the time I cease blogging), they can always find it here.
As parents it is our job to teach and shape our children so that one day when they begin to develop their own opinions they will be able to use what they learned from us to shape their thoughts on things they didn’t know – so they won’t hurt anyone (especially themselves) along the way. To do otherwise by your children, would – in my opinion – be considered failure as a parent.
Here are the thirteen things I need my kids to remember as they grow up;
13. To my boys: Pink is a colour, much as red, blue, black and green. Liking pink doesn’t mean anything except that you like the colour. If someone tells you otherwise you have to remember that it’s their problem, not yours. At some point in their life, someone tied to colour pink to a negative stereotype which simply does not exist. It’s okay to buy pink items, pink clothes and paint a room pink.
12. All (My 2 boys and my girl): Your nose is NOT an appropriate place to stick your finger – and this rule always stands, whether you are 3, 7, 8 or 38. If you do visit there, in the solitude of your own room, or home, it is NOT okay to them put that finger in your mouth, on your bed, or on your clothes. If, however, you choose to pick your nose, then you must have either a kleenex or square of toilet paper for when you are finished and wash your hands after. Remember that if your hands are dirty and you place a finger in your nose (or mouth) you are putting germs in your body. You will get sick. In addition, people think it’s yucky. Don’t be that yucky kid that turns into the yucky teen, then the creepy booger-eating adult. Please.
11. All: Respect others’ personal space and belongings. There are written rules which need to obeyed when you are in a home and there are some unwritten rules which you must follow so that you will . You need to respect others and their possessions. I know children will be children, but taking, breaking, hiding or damaging something that does not belong to you is not at all what I have in mind when it comes to creating art or playful fun. Neither is it fun to touch, push, trip or get in the face of someone for any reason. In fact, this is a lesson in doing it all WRONG! If you did this to my belongings or got in my face, I would not be happy.
10. Accept others for who they really are. In an age where bullying has taken centre stage among our youth, I hope I have taught you to see the value in differences. Race, religion, colour, accents, or dress, interests, hair style or colour, ability or disability… It doesn’t matter. See past it all and realize that we are all humans on this planet.
9. It is okay to cry. Crying is a natural emotional response to feelings. We all do it. Men cry. Women cry. Children cry. If you begin to cry and someone calls you a baby just remember that they learned this at home and they are being taught to hold in their emotions. Feel sorry for them but don’t allow them to change how you act or how you feel.
8. Always be proud of who YOU are. You may not be the tallest kid, or the fastest, or have the best hair, but really now, who cares? As long as you stay true to who you are, everything else will fall into place.
7. Find your passion. Keep looking and searching. Never ever stop.
6. Love this planet we live on called “Earth”. Recycle, reduce, reuse. Go as “green” as you can by being aware of how you live, shop, and of what you consume (and where that comes from). Now go join your mother and I hug a tree.
5. Be a brother / sister. Be a friend. Be a protector. Always be good to your family, even when there is conflict. Always remember that you are all that you have. Spouses and friends are great but at the end of the day you should know and have the support of your brother/sister when you need it. Just don’t take advantage.
4. Smart is cool. Never be ashamed of being smart or nerdy, having freckles or glasses, or loving science and math (or tax). Smart never goes out of style, it stays with you as you grow, and it will lead you down the most successful paths you can imagine.
3. All: Your body is just that, it’s your body. You can keep your hair any way or colour that you want and you can dress any way that you want, but you must remember that others will judge you and it will impact how others treat you. So long as you understand that, you may continue. Don’t let pop culture define you. I don’t know why, but today we let pop culture manipulate our youth and it’s killing them emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. From the early on fascination with princesses, to the ‘need’ for a boyfriend and big boobs, popularity, teen moms, and all the other garbage being thrown in their face – be confident going against the grain or you’ll risk selling yourself out.
2. Maintain your health. It’s life’s greatest asset. Without good health you have nothing. A positive approach to health encompasses physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Healthy lifestyle choices we taught you in your youth have already helped to lay a strong foundation for continued wellness throughout your adult life. In addition, a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, stress management, self-motivation, and remaining positive will have a huge impact on your quality of life, health, and happiness. Honourable mention: Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. Laughter is humbling. It inspires and motivates. It keeps you real.
1. Wherever you are in life, you can come home. I will be here – always. ♥ Daddy. Remember children that you will all be my favourite children forever (and equally for your own strengths and inspirations). If you don’t believe me, ask Mummy. She will tell you the same thing.