Tag Archives: children

Dinks, Doinks, Clowns and Jerks… How our conversation on the ride home from school progressed…

If only I could record everything that my children say which is either clever, hilarious or unexpected… They’re awesome and I love having conversations with them, or just listening to them, as they grow up.

The ride home from school was no exception.  It began with my play-by-play recap of my ball-hockey game last night, actually both my ball hockey games – back-to-back, but thinking about it now, I’m not sure they asked so much as I wanted to tell them.  LOL.  During the first game, I was one of three defensemen then moved to become one of 5 forwards.  There was a lot of running and there is nothing I like more than getting my money’s worth and running my ass of at these games!

What I wanted to tell my kids was about one play where an opposition player ran a pick play on me, and then my reaction.  My hope is always that by taking the higher road, I can teach my children how to react in situations like these and keep them from doing or saying something which can cause them pain or suffering.

So on this play, and I’m a big guy, the opposing player caught me with a knee in my thigh as I was chasing his teammate around the net trying to scoop the ball off of his stick.  That hit sent me flying and I was upset there was no penalty called because our team needed to score and the power play would have helped, not because he took a cheap shot which hurt like heck.

I thought I could still draw the penalty, so I called the guy exactly what I thought he was… a clown.

He flipped out.  He said to me, “What? You called me a clown?”

“Yes” I replied. “You’re a Clown! Who else knees someone in the thigh while they are chasing someone… a clown.  It suits your playing style and ability since they’re both a joke.”

He thought about it, and laughed.

I took two or three steps away from him – walking towards the bench – when I turned, looked back at him and said “I HATE clowns.”

He flipped out.

The referee stepped in to keep him from getting to me, and he was yelling all kinds of stuff but all I heard was, “blah, blah, blah.”  He eventually got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.  I was sore, but all smiles on the bench.

The rest of the game he kept his distance from me.

So I told this story to my kids – explaining how I didn’t fight, or try to hurt him, because that is not nice, and I didn’t yell or swear at him, because we don’t do that.  I expected a meaningful dialogue about respect, sportsmanship, and playing hard but not going over the edge, or about keeping emotions in check… But instead I got this question right away;

“Daddy, if you don’t like clowns did you like former WWF (now WWE) wrestler Doink the Clown?”

“No”, I said. “Only when he turned bad and became evil Doink.”

Then this came out of my mouth…

“I mean clowns might as well be called what they really are… Jerks. I mean who else hides their face under white make-up, a wig and a fake nose so that they can spray water in your face or make you shake their hands where they have the hand buzzer… A jerk does that.”

My other son then asked; “What about Dink? Doink’s son?”

I replied, “I think naming a wrestler “dink” is always a bad idea since when I was growing up a “dink” was either the name kids called their penis or a name for a small metal car (dinky cars).”

“So Dink was a penis?” my brilliant child asks?

“No”, I said. “It’d be like saying Penis’ Penis… Oh, forget it.”

Then I changed the topic.


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So THIS is How Children Get Interested in Things…

I’ve been trying for what seems like forever to get my children interested in sports, but to no avail.  Even when my middle son, Stewie, went from not being able to stand on ice skates just 2 years ago, to playing houseleague hockey this year, I cannot convince him to watch hockey on TV.


Plus, I LOVE watching baseball on TV, win-or-lose, Blue Jays or any other team, yet my kids would sit for a minute – declare it boring – then move on.

I did manage to get them to like / love the Toronto Rock Lacrosse team – as a season ticket holder since their inception – I always thought it was because of the in-game activities like the lights, music playing throughout the game and food, more than the fact that the Rock were the team that won the most in a City starved for sports success.

I remember when the Boston Bruins were good, just a couple of seasons ago, and my oldest son Linus declared his love for Tukka Rask and other Bruins over the hometown Maple Leafs.  I was disappointed but it was then that I realized kids what to support a winning team.  How else can you explain all those fans of the Montreal Canadiens?!?

Now that my oldest is 10, I’m noticing he is paying attention to everything baseball, and why not!  The Toronto Blue Jays staved off elimination last night with a 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals and for the past month instead of playing hockey in the basement, we play baseball.

Winning gets the kids attention!  It is winning that get children interested in sports and other events… Other events like politics.

With the Canadian Federal election a couple of days in the past, I can tell you that my children sure as hell know more about the next Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau than I do.  They know he was “Just Not Ready” and that he walks a lot (up a down escalator in one campaign ad, and in a field in another).  They also know that he dropped out of a lot of courses in University and that he is going to spend Canada into massive debt.

They’re not impressed but they are listening to the TV and radio and they are reading articles about the PM and they are watching Trudeau and the Liberals (both Federally and Provincially here in Ontario) like hawks.

It’s also the age.

My 10-year-old and now 9-year-old know every player on the Blue Jays.  They know the scores, they know the batting averages and as a result of post-season baseball for the first time in their lives, they know about stealing signs, the pop-up slide and catchers framing pitches.

I’m excited.

They’re excited.

This is how kids get interested!  It’s part parental encouragement (which sometimes acts as a detriment) part success and part coming of age.

In the meantime, I cannot get my kids to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs – the main discussion here surrounds the proposed name change to Toronto Maple Leaves and my child’s constant joke about the 1-3-2 Leafs and how they, like the “real” leafs “fall” this time of year… Every year.


Go Jays Go!


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Something I Missed While On Vacation: 31 Million Ashley Madison Users Have Explaining To Do…

I have not paid that much attention to the goings-on over the hack of Ashley Madison – I tried to explain the fuss to my kids and I said to them that it was a dating site for married people to meet other married people for… ummm… naked twister.  No, I didn’t say that.  I said it was a site for married people to meet other married people so they could become friends and go out sometimes.

While we were on vacation, there was a list released by the hacking group which put some or all of the information of the 31 million users out for public consumption.

I was a bit surprised that of that 31 million, 26 million were men, and 5 million women which means that either the data is skewed, that the 5 million women were very much in demand and quite busy or that 10’s of millions of men never found a twister partner.

My interest in Ashley Madison and parent company Avid Life Media (ALM) only lies in the fact that they are a Canadian company and that the site was created, born and raised here in Toronto.  I might one day look to see if I recognize any of the names, but to be honest, I don’t care.  I, like you, am busy with real things, like family, work, and other activities, and what other people do with their time and in their relationships is 100% their own business and no one else’s.

I think I have always taken this standpoint even from way back in the day when I was The Urban (Not Yet A) Daddy, and I want my kids to look at the world the same way if at all possible.  Marriage, relationships, friends, religion… None of this is my business unless you are forcing your views on me, and those views oppress, harm or place others in a lower standing than the rest of us.  Then I have a problem with it.

At the end of the day, strip away everything and you have a planet with land, and humans.  We are all the same.

I hope the Ashley Madison scandal blows over.

I feel bad for the people involved – I hope they choose to continue life as they know it, or that they get help and work out their issues.  I also don’t like to see personal data hacked, stolen, and made public, but I also admire the work of these hackers for taking a stand (if it turns out to be that and not a bitter former employee) and with all of the secrecy in the world it’s nice to know the truth every now and then.  It’s how we can hold people accountable.

What is your take on this?

How would you explain this to your children?


Here is the article that I read which helped bring me up to speed;


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Proud Recipient of a 2015 Ontario Volunteer Service Award

On June 16th, The 2015 Ontario Volunteer Service Awards were handed out in Toronto, which recognizes individual volunteers for continuous years of commitment and dedicated service to an organization. 


This year both my wife and I received an award for 15-years of volunteering with an organization call Jewish Family and Child Services (JF&CS).

Jewish Family & Child supports the healthy development of individuals, children, families, and communities through prevention, protection, counselling, education and advocacy services, within the context of Jewish values.

Their priority areas are;

1. Increasing Safety and Security

2. Reducing the Effects of Poverty

3. Improving Mental Health and Wellness

My wife and I became volunteers in the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program to assist the JF&CS staff with the planning and coordinating over events for the programs’ participants and volunteers.  Over the past 15 years we have met a lot of incredible volunteers and incredible children who have grown up to be amazing young adults.

None of this would have been possible without the hard work and support of Andrea Pines, the Volunteer Coordinator for Big Brothers / Big Sisters.

We also try to model what it means to be a good person to our children and I recall a picture being published of our oldest boy – at probably 3 months old – strapped to my wife in a child carrier and the 3 of us set off to an event.  We try to include all of our kids in the event planning as well as at the event so they will understand that giving their time might seem like such a small gesture, but to some people it means a lot.

Obviously we do this for the organization, and not for the recognition, and I’m hesitant to publish this except I hope down the road, my kids will be able to read this and realize that volunteering is important and that it’s been a part of their lives since they were born (and their Dad expects them to continue doing it!!)

The awards ceremony is a lovely ceremony where volunteers are presented with stylized trillium pins and personalized certificates.

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Resiliance! A Great Trait For a Child To Have, and Also a Concern…

My oldest child has become VERY resilient!  This is a good trait to develop, but also has a pretty huge downside.  Can I explain how we’ve come to figure this out…

  • Kids can be mean.
  • Kids can also interpret the words and actions of others in a completely different way then it is intended.
  • Kids also don’t always fit in to their surroundings, we all know that, especially at school because who can predict what the best school is for a child before having an opportunity to learn about how your child learns and what they need.
  • How kids handle themselves – the only thing they can (presumably) control – can make the difference between them having a great time at school, or them being miserable every day.

After that, you either wind up with a resilient child who can take it and move forward, or it breaks your child and they either fade away or strike back.

Take, for example, this scenario:  My oldest son really wanted a pair or wrist bands.  Badly.  So when we found a pair at Dick’s Sporting Goods in NY, he was over the moon and he wore them to school every day… Every day until someone commented on the fact he wears them every day – and that comment might have been just a comment, or a judgement – but my son has not worn them every single day since.  In fact, he went a while without wearing them, but has slowly started to wear them where appropriate again.

He knows he has to be his individual and generally he does what he wants, but he felt they were poking fun at him, and he dealt with it by not wearing them at school.

Resilient?  Nope.

But it made him very aware of what others felt about him and he has always been quite very aware of his own self, so he adjusted his actions and his behaviour to fall in line with his peers as best as he could in order to stay under the radar.

Quite un-sporty, he even started playing sports with the sporty kids so that he could fit in better and while below the experience and skill of his classmates, they mostly tolerated his presence but he played anyways because he knew the only way he could improve was to play and get better.

From that came the courage to try out for the soccer team.  We were thrilled.  He didn’t make the team, but he tried and we were very supportive and encouraging, as were his friends.  Then they added him as a call-up and eventhough he played less that the other kids and the kids bugged him about that (“you really didn’t make the team”) – he went out, tried, and had fun.  By the last game of the season, ignoring all the comments from the other kids, he improved a lot and was on the top line with his best friend and the team’s best player.  They played a lot, and he got to show his skills.

I helped to coach by coming to the games and encouraging the kids, supporting the team and cheering them on.  I heard the comments and I felt bad for him, but he didn’t care.  It was less important than his opportunity to play in a team environment, learn the game and be one of the boys.

My oldest boy also swims… Well.   He has been in a pre-competitive program where he became the dark horse according to the program’s director.  He spent the first 4-6 weeks cruising along the side wall where he could, but by the end of the program, he was the top swimmer, and his breast stroke and back stroke were referred to as “a thing of beauty” and that he was “graceful” and “surprisingly strong”.

His first crack at competitive swimming saw him win his first 2 races by a substantial margin, and a second place finish in his third race because he stopped to see where the end of the pool was.  He cheers on his teammates, and in competitions, he cheers on everyone in the water.  He’s that kind of kid.

Just the other day was his year-end swim competition and again came 2 first place finishes, and then with a race right after his previous race, and double the distance, he swallowed some water and came in 3rd.


He’ll be joining a swim team next year!  He wants to go to the Olympics.  He gives partial credit to @HarveysCanada (more in a future post).

He had an opportunity to swim for his school and he was really excited about it, until a kids in his class told him that “swimming was stupid, you get a better workout playing hockey”.  It crushed him… For a day or two, but instead of arguing and debating the issue, he recognized it was factually incorrect and he chose to leave it alone and move on.

He went to the school swim meet as one of only 2 boys there and he swam against kids much bigger and stronger than him, and he came in 3rd in the races he competed in.  He was thrilled, he were proud of him and the swim teacher saw this bright, sporty kid, step up and support his school.  Even the older girls at the meet cheered him on and supported him because he was an unknown to them and here he was at one point moving from last in a race to 2nd.  #Guts.

Now, he has found a love for baseball.

I love baseball.  LOVE it!  I never played but I should have!  I’m a pitcher to the core and I wanted to play but according to my parents, I never asked to play, so I did not.  Obviously, those days are behind me but I can live through my son, right?  :)

My son tried out for the school softball team and didn’t make the starting squad – there were kids from both grades who has played in leagues in previous years which he did not, but he was added as a call-up.  He cannot go to any of those games because they conflict with his hardball baseball season which he just stated and his swimming program.

I was concerned that being left off the school team might hurt his confidence more than it would fire him up, but I was wrong.  He has started this season – his first – on fire and he is tearing things up.  His first game he went 2 for 3 and stole a base.  His second game 2 for 4 with 2 stolen bases and his third game he got to pitch and in the 2 innings he pitched, he struck out 4 and got the save as his team won the game.  He followed that up by going 1 for 3 and by throwing out a running at home from right field.

His baseball coach loves him!  With a little more practice, his coach figures he might be the team’s best pitcher.  He already throws hard and is very accurate.  In his eagerness to put the ball in play, he struck out twice last game watching the ball sail out of the strike zone but called a strike by the umpire.  By not watching baseball, he doesn’t know things like that can happen.  He’ll learn.

He doesn’t tell the kids on his school team, nor does he mention it to his gym teacher, but he humbly accepts that he’s good at baseball and he loves being part of the team.  He’s been a great teammate, and he’s been a cheerleader on the bench in between innings.  He has showed his empathetic-side when one of his teammates got hit by the ball and was hurt, by going over to check on him right away.

He has turned negative situation after negative situation into positive ones and I tip my hat to him.

But with the good comes the bad, and the biggest concern with a resilient kids, is the internalizing.

The appearance that he’s okay with all of the negatives, and the accepting of being treated this way can have serious long-term ramifications as he learns to ignore poor treatment and convince himself that that it’s okay.  It absolutely bothers him, and he absolutely keeps it all in at that moment.

One day he’ll need to speak to a professional or I worry that he will snap.

I’m glad that most of this revolves around physical activity and I hope he will be able to channel this frustration into energy to perform better at whatever sport he is playing, but until that happens I worry that these disappointments will impact his ability to enjoy sports and he’ll be too worried worrying about what others will say if he does not succeed to play well and enjoy the game.

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