Posted in cars, Community, Daddy, disaster, family, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

At What Age Will Parents Finally Get It? Re: School drop off


At what age / grade do parents finally have their “a-ha” moment when it comes to dropping off  their kids at school?

I’d like to know, because I’m shocked at the number of parents who just don’t get it.

I see you – every morning – doing the exact same thing, and I’m cursing you. So are all the other cars waiting in line that you have inconvenienced.

What are these parent not getting?

Common Courtesy!

Consideration for others.

Rules of the road.

Traffic laws.

Just to name a few off the top of my head.

You see, most schools have a very limited drop-off window for children and that window is at it’s busiest 15-30 minutes before school starts, and most often, the location for drop off is limited, thus, for drop-off to work effectively and efficiently, it has to be seamless.

The proper drop-off works like this;

  1. Car pulls up to drop off location – not exceeding the speed limit.
  2. Car stops.
  3. Parent says “get out!” or “goodbye”, or “I’ll pick you up”.
  4. Child opens the car door
  5. Child takes backpack.
  6. Child shuts door.
  7. Parent then looks both ways and slowly pulls away from the drop-off area and heads off to do their thing, or if the routine is really organized, then the car pulls forward and away, closely following the car right in front..

This method is so efficient. and so quick, but it never happens…

What really happens:

  1. Giant SUV driven by a very tiny woman zips up to the parking area and stops vehicle where ever she want. In a spot, diagonal facing the curb, on the curb, on the grass… blocking a driveway, or blocking oncoming traffic… Doesn’t matter.
  2. Driver opens the trunk by pressing a button
  3. Driver slowly exits the car in lululemon / workout clothes
  4. Driver then strolls around to the other side of the car and opens the door for the child.
  5. The driver then goes and gets the child’s backpack from the trunk.
  6. Driver helps child out of car
  7. Driver helps child get backpack on
  8. Driver looks child in the face and begins a seemingly long discussion with the child which likely could have occurred in the car.
  9. Driver kisses and hugs the child
  10. Driver points the child in the direction of the door.
  11. Driver waits for the child to enter the school
  12. Driver slowly walks back to the car hoping other lululemon mummy’s will see her outfit.
  13. Driver enters car
  14. Drive pulls away without looking, signalling or waiting, phone in hand, exceeding the speed limit and seemingly unaware that other children are walking on the road trying to get to school.

This is not a joke, nor meant to be a satire. It’s what happens daily.

Cars get frustrated, children are late, and there is a lot of honking.

 

Why can’t parents drop their kids of quickly and let the kids be responsible for getting out on their own?

These are likely the same parents who carry their kids backpacks and don’t get me started on that!

So please, parents… Teach your kids to be considerate of others around them even though you clearly have no hope.

Hopefully, you’ll get it…

One day…

 

 

Posted in events, family, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Father’s Day: Young Kids vs Teens


Father’s Day!

Every day is father’s day, in my eyes, and this day is just another day for me – thankful for being a father, and thinking of my father who passed away 17-years ago at such a young age and who never got to see my children.

Thank goodness my wife’s father is alive, healthy and have developed such a wonderful relationship with my kids.

So with that being said, and having been at this blogging thing for almost 15-years, I have a great perspective of what it’s like being a father for the first time, when the kid(s) are young, and now that they are approaching and in their early teens (my oldest is 14).

First Father’s Day

The novelty of having children and being a father is finally sinking in, which makes your relationship with your father / father-in-law / father figure / grand father, etc., a bit more enriched.

You are likely to get a card from your wife, from your child, parents, siblings, etc., and a picture or baby hand imprint, or paper with drool on it – something like that which you will keep.

Future Father’s Days

The kid(s) ask what you want, and they usually make stuff at school. Cute stuff, like the hand print, or the paper saying that your dad is 83-years-old, and have no hair, and your favourite colour is blue, and that for a living you yell and them and burp a lot.

This is the age of BBQ’s and “Best Father” mugs, and ties, and stuff like that. Father’s day is still super awesome, if not more awesome because you’ve realized the amount of work your wife has put into the family so you whisk the kids away for the day and take them to the zoo, to a movie, to the park, or to see your mother.

Caution: The Teen / Tween Years

I’m still relatively new to this, but thus far, Father’s day goes something like this;

  1. Remind the kids father’s day is coming up
  2. Remind the kids that you really like a homemade card or craft but a hug and kiss will suffice
  3. Ask them halfway through the day is they know what day today is…
  4. When the kids fight or disagree with each other, try making peace between them by saying, “Hey! It’s Father’s Day!!”
  5. Try not to laugh when told, “You’re as useful as a screen door on a submarine”, or “You’re not the stupidest person on the planet… But you’d better hope that person doesn’t die.”

 

(If you laugh they think it’s acceptable – or really funny – and they’ll want to quit school and go on tour as a comedian… OY!)

So you end up wishing yourself a Happy Father’s Day, and you think about how great it’s been thus far as a father, and then you try to figure out where on earth it all went so wrong.

 

 

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

Why Do “We” Do This As Parents?


Why, as parents, do we do everything in our power to;

  1. Keep our kids quit in restaurants, by teaching them how to behave in public, yet when they’re in a McDonalds, we allow them to sit on their own, run around the place, scream, sing and be really, really disruptive to everyone around them.  They are especially annoying to the, ahem, father who is trying to write blog posts with his headphones on, but cannot put 2 thoughts together because of the chaos.
  2. Teach children that our word is our word and that they should listen to us, but then after telling them over and over again, for example, that they cannot have dessert until they eat their McNuggets, and then when they don’t eat their McNuggets, buy them dessert anyways?
  3. Keep the kids quiet – and by quiet, I mean asking them to take the cups off their mouths and stop singing at the top of their lungs – but when they refuse to listen, “distracting” them by buying them dessert…

Who parents like this?

When I asked why do “we”, I really meant who do “they”.  I certainly do not parent like that!

Yet there are a whole bunch of parents in here who do!

 

Update:

The loud people left, finally, but not before the kids bolted and hid under tables (even tables where people were eating), and as the final piece of class, the father yelled “John! I’ll see you in the car” and with that he headed to the door, leaving a 3-year-old, wailing in the middle of the restaurant.  Thankfully the kids 5yo sister came to get him.

Then, just as the ringing in my ears subsided, 2 mothers and 2 girls came in, and the mothers have allowed the kids to absolutely run wild in here… (see, not just the dads).

The kids have been running around barefoot (ugh), and in their socks (ugh), and screaming, spiting, sitting on tables and walking across the chairs.  After a few dirty glares, the parents shh’d the kids, but then the parents went back to talking and the kids took of their shoes and are back to yelling, and picking up stuff from the floor…

Again I ask… Why do parents think it’s okay to let their kids run amok in some restaurants, but not others?!?

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, hockey, Life, Parenting, sleep, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

What’s Better Than Coaching Hockey?


What’s better than coaching hockey?  Coaching AND being the convener!

Oh yes!

I’ve always loved coaching hockey.  I’ve never actually ever played a single game of ice hockey in my life, but I have coached ice hockey before.  This year represents my 7th year coaching hockey.  My previous 6-years were in my early 20’s when my sports rehab coach, Michael Grafstein (he was the BEST!), asked me to open and close the doors in the bench for him as he was the head coach of a team in North Toronto Hockey Association.

He failed to tell me that the games were at 6am.

So I asked a friend of mine to join me, and together we would go out Saturday nights, come home at 3am or 4am, then get up at 5am and head to the rink.  It was way more fun than it seemed.

After doing that for 3-years, my “Uncle” asked me to help coach his oldest son all the way up in Richmond Hill, Ontario, for the Richmond Hill Hockey Association, and again I would drive up there and open and close the doors for that team.  I went on the ice as little as possible, but I was there, and I learned.

I decided I wanted to be a real coach, so I started the process of getting certified by Hockey Canada, and I took courses towards my National Canadian Coaching Certification, but stopped when I had to pick a sport to specialize in.  I didn’t want to specialize in baseball, for example, only to find my future children would never play that sport.

All this time, I was playing and coaching my ball hockey team.  From the age of 19 up to 45-years-old, I played in a the North West Toronto Ball Hockey League and the York Central / North Central Ball Hockey League, until I tore my calf muscle in a game.

I was awarded the Coach / Manager of the year award 6 or 7 times, and we won the championships somewhere around 7-10 times, and it’s funny how many hockey players tried out ball hockey but couldn’t play because there is no coasting in ball hockey like you can do in ice hockey.

With all that being said, when asked if I wanted to coach my 11-year-old son this season in his house league in the Forest Hill Hockey Association, I jumped at the opportunity.  We had moved from that horrible experience last season back to the league where he played his first 2 seasons and in this league, when you make the select team, you have to play house league too.

With coaches in place, the league was then looking for a convener or two to run their division this season and I must not have said no quick enough because that’s now part of my role.  I’m actually really happy about it, and really excited to see how the season is going to play out.  The other convener that I’m working with is absolutely fantastic.  He’s been around the game much longer than I have and his personality and thoughts about how teams should run themselves are a perfect match with mine.

So this season, while my oldest continues to swim competitively, and my youngest dances and trains in synchronized swimming, I get to spend time with my middle son at his select hockey practices, and his house league hockey games, and taking him to basketball games because why play only one or 2 sports when you can play them all and make your parents drive you around every evening and weekend.

I wish I had these opportunities as a kid…

I’m happy to do this for the fitness component, and so that my kids have an opportunity to work in a team, to have responsibilities to their team and their coaches, and because it’s proven that exercise helps kids focus and sleep better.

It’s a win-win-win-win-win… Scenario.

I prefer being called “Coach”.  I’m not sure what people call conveners other than really nasty words.  lol.

Thank goodness I have a brand new Canada Goose jacket to keep me warm!

 

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.