Posted in family, Life, sleep, urbandaddyblog

It is that time of year… Tax time!

For those of you who are new to this site, or who drop in occasionally, you may not know that in my real life, I play a tax manager.  I post tax information that I find interesting, or that I have to dig up and research on at, soon to be at once I find the password and username that I misplaced.

So what that means is that this time of year – actually beginning in August -is super-hectic.  Beginning December 1st, my walk hurried into a jog, and now in mid-January I am already in full sprint.  I’m not sure ho long this pace can keep up with 2 1/2 months to go…

I had an idea how this day was going to shape up, when the first song I heard on my iPad was “Under Pressure” by Queen.  I spent most of the day pushing ahead tasks and projects where there was room to move them, while trying to get other projects completed ahead of schedule, while putting out fires that happened throughout the day.  Nothing new for me, and to be honest, since I really like doing this a lot, it makes for a fun time.  I’m just reminded as I get more and more tired that I need to get to the gym as that got me through 2 previous tax seasons.

I also realized today that taking care of my kids on Saturday, while awesome, really set me back a bit, when on Sunday I took the boys tobogganing for a couple of hours in -25 degree celcius (with windchill) weather and boy did that fresh air mess with us all.

Both kids were exhausted at night and I was a disaster on Monday. I actually went right to sleep at 8pm after all the kids were asleep and slept right through until 7am the next morning.  I would say that was the most uninterrupted sleep I have had in 6 years.

It was also today when I realized how much I appreciate my wife, and that she does what I did on Saturday each and every day.  Sure we have a nanny to help her out but she still works, feeds us, pays the bills, programs the entire family and keeps the house running smoothly…  Zowie.  I feel like such a wuss now.

I often ask her opinion on how to manage a situation because while she has not managed people per se, she manages the household, the kids, the nanny, and in her former life as a high-school teacher, she managed to stay sane.

I think the task of managing kids is very similar to managing adults as in both cases you are looking to make sure both groups do what is right for themselves and for the rest of the team / family, while at the same time you want to make sure there is no conflict and you have to work together to get the job done. 

For both kids and adults, working towards a goal is key.  IT’s easier to track progress that way and having a prize at the end of the maze makes the race more worthwhile.

In reading “Honey, I wrecked the kids” by Alyson Schafer, I am learning new less physical ways to interact with the kids and get them to do what my wife and I expect from them.  I am finding success.  Instead of asking Linus to remove his plate from the table night in and night out, Alyson suggests that since kids know their responsibilities, a simple one word reminder should suffice, so this morning when Linus got up and walked away from the table, I said; “Linus.  Plate.”  He turned around, walked back to the table and removed his plate.

Another tool is the re-direct.  Linus was making a spitting noise that I cannot stand and instead of asking him to stop and give him all that attention for the wrong reasons, I merely asked him different questions until he forgot what he was doing and started chatting with me.

Good one Alyson!

The last technique that I am finding to be a great help (I’m halfway through the book) is the introducing of consequences.

You don’t have to clean your room if you don’t want to put I will not read a book to anyone is a messy room, worked wonders the other day.  As does the line, you can stay downstairs and play if you want.  You will miss snack before bed and if that is your choice, that is okay with me.

Can’t wait to get through the book… One night parenting, next night taxation, following night parenting…

As an aside, I’m looking for a beginner yoga class in the Toronto area that begins after our kids are in bed, so around 8pm.  Anyone?

Posted in family

Winter Break… At least it was for someone…

Let me begin with a wish for a very Happy New Year for you and your family.  May 2011 bring you health, happiness, patience, peace on earth and goodwill towards everyone.

That being said, I have not been a good blogger these past couple weeks.  It’s a super-busy time of year for me generally but even crazier this year because of some new IRS regulations which made my tax season preparation even more difficult and time-consuming.  

While I was working, or reading up on new regs, my wife was taking care of the kids during the 2 weeks (was it only that short?) they were off school.   She managed to do a lot of cool stuff with them and for them, like setting up daily playdates for all 3 of them, and taking them places.  It must have been a lot of work for my wife, but the kids loved spending time with her and doing fun and exciting things on a daily basis. 

Some of the things they did, or she did, were memorable for the kids and I wanted to highlight the activities and my kids thoughts here.

For example.

The boys had a tea party.  They used Berry’s dishes she received for her 1st birthday and in attendence at this event was, Linus’ animals and Stewie’s animals, including; squeaky-bear, mousey housey, kitty, beary, Poppy, Doobie doo’s, etc.  The boys served “coffee and tea.  Chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream.”

On one day last week, Stewie was barred from his room for a day because there was a “show” going on in there, and “they” wouldn’t let him in.  The “they” were all the stuffed “friends” who were in attendence at the tea party.  Granted, Linus and Stewie spent the better part of a day practicing the show but they were not allowed in the room, it was animal only.  It was so funny that when we tried to get Stewie up to his room for a nap, he agreed, then went up only to come down again to tell us that the show was still going on and as a result, he was not allowed in his room…

The boys also went with Mummy to see Yogi Bear in 3D – they thought it was “funny, scary, weird and had yummy, yummy popcorn.  There was juice there too.”  For some reason there were 25 minutes of previews prior to this show which seems a bit excessive, no?

The boys and their Mummy Kids also went to see a play called A Year with Frog and Toad.  I asked the kids for their feedback on the show and this was what came back.  Keep in mind, I did not attend the show so I can not confirm or deny any of it.  “Toad was funny in a bathing suit.  Even frog looked funny in a bathing suit.”

This was a very special day for the boys as my wife took them downtown on the subway, and over to the threatre via street car – it was their first time on a streetcard (theirs, not hers) and they LOVED it.  After the show the boys and my wife went over to St. Lawrence market and they boys did some sightseeing and had “vanilla and chocolate gingerbread cookie men”.

Posted in Baby girl, Being Jewish in Toronto, family, Happy Boy, Happy Wife = Happy Life, Life, Linus

Happy Father’s Day, 2010!

Happy Father’s Day!

It’s Father’s Day and I have just Facebook status to wish all my friends who are fathers a very happy fathers day.  I feel like we’re part of a very exclusive, very cool club, as fathers – who are engaged, involved, and in there for our families for whatever is needed, whenever it is needed.

Personally, I really feel that being a dad, makes us guys very lucky… For most of us, pretty much every day is father’s day.

Yes, we don’t have to grow the child, carry it for 9 months, and birth it, have our bodies changed forever as a result, and if the child is breastfed only, we can’t help with that either.  So, we kind of get off easy, I guess.  Even if you love being a dad like I do, then it’s even better getting to help out in every way possible, it makes you want to be a stay-at-home dad (SAHD).

Regarding father’s day, I don’t need any fancy gifts from my kids – a hand made card is more than enough. I don’t need anything from my wife – she has already contributed more than her share to our family and is the reason that I’m a father.

That being said, are there rules about who gives and gets gifts on Father’s Day?  We gave to my father-in-law and wife’s grandfather (my father and both grand-fathers have sadly passed), and I received from my mother and sister… See how it’s odd?!? But all in all, hanging out with my entire family – wife and kids made the day super-special.  It’s all that I ask for.

Sure there are BBQ’s and some gifts exchanged, but it’s just not the same as say Mother’s Day. If anyone misses celebrating Mother’s Day, look out!  Without mother’s there would be no children, and there would be war and chaos everywhere.  Kids would eat junk food all day and play video games all night.  We love the mothers, and we need the mothers!

If Father’s Day celebrations were missed… It’s understood.  We go with the flow.

Take my weekend, for example…


I made the kids breakfast in the morning and we were about to sit down to enjoy a nice healthy bowl of organic fresh oatmeal, until I was attacked by my family with great gifts, beautiful cards and a lot of love! My 3-year-old son made a card for me in school where he has to fill in the blanks. So the first question was, “My Dad is ___ old”. He put 60. The next one was; “My Dad’s job is ____”. He put “Peeling apples”. The next one; “My Dad weighs ____”. He put “2000 pounds”. And there were more. LOL. I got an awesome book in gardening in small spaces. I CAN’T wait to read this book. It’s perfect! and my 6 custom tailored dress shirts from Maxwell the tailor showed up and my wife graciously paid the duty and included them in my gift. The shirts are… Interesting… 3 of them I love. One looks like a table cloth, one like wrapping paper and one… well… she said I need to keep 2 buttons open, hang big gold chains and put a ghetto blaster on my shoulder. It’s a little bit shiny… OK a LOT shiny.

After breakfast and lots of hugs and kisses, we set off to do some organic strawberry picking / strawberry buffet (fresh peas too) with our very cool cousins. We had a blast. We picked, ate and picked some more. I love strawberries!!!

After getting all covered in berries we went to have some yummy veggie Dim Sum for lunch at the Lotus Pond in Scarborough, about 25 minutes East of Toronto. We’ve been going there for years.

We headed home around 3pm so our 5-year-old, Linus, would have some rest before a 4pm birthday party.

After the party, it was a quick dinner, some packing and moving of boxes in the garage, then bed.


Sunday’s breakfast was yummy and simple, as we all ate Cheerios with fresh picked berries in it.  There is a reason the box has it pictured that way.  It’s so yummy.  Plus, we all loved the way the milk turned pink from the fresh, sweet berries.
Then it was off to karate class when both boys had awesome classes today.  Maybe it was because we dragged mummy and 6-month-old baby Boo along to watch Stewie try for his yellow advanced belt.

He was inspired, and he got it! He was SO excited. I was excited, but certainly not surprised.  That kid is all focus on the task at hand.  I wouldn’t be surprised if her surpassed his brother at karate within a year!  Then what to do?!?

I also like Sunday morning karate because I get to hang with Supernova Elliott for an hour, drink an XL double double Tim Horton’s coffee and talk about being Dad’s to 3 kids. We also talk music, about why our wives won’t eat red meat, and our frustration with people who hate for a living.

After karate we hit up a high-end men’s store in Toronto called the Coop for a present for my father-in-law, and after that myself and the boys walked down to the flower / plant sore for some tomato plants, flowers and a ficus benjamina for my wife.

I’m starting to notice that the kids really love flowers, and they’re getting the gist of what it takes to grow vegetables at home and why it’s a good idea to do so.

From there, we came home, cleaned the garage for a couple hours – packed more boxes – then set off to my inlaws for a BBQ. We had 4 generations of her family there. It was pretty amazing.

Then it was time to come home and put everyone to bed.

Before long it will be Monday and I get to witness the impact of the G20 on the streets of Toronto, firsthand… Can’t wait!

Posted in Baby girl, Berry, family, government, Happy Wife = Happy Life, health, Linus, Stewie

What it means to be a working father of three.

This past weekend definitely a trying weekend for me in my efforts to be a great father.

I was on edge all weekend, probably because this would be the 3rd week in a row I’ve been suffering with my allergies.  I have been unable to wear my contact lenses. My eyes are very red and quite itchy, and my nose and throat have started to itch this week… UGH. I look like I’m on drugs… Not a great look for an office, eh?

I keep forgetting that I should be investing in allergy medication, as all this allergy action has come in the last 5 or 6 years only. I never had allergies as a child.

I am also a bit on edge because our little baby girl, Berry, has been up every 2-3 hours (shades of Stewie) every single night.  While I do not get up everytime the baby does – thank you honey – because this time around, for child #3 I actually have to work.

With child #1, Linus, I took 9 months off paid paternity. With child #2, Stewie, I was off for 4 months on paid paternity (2 of those months were spent laid up with a herniated disc in my lower pack) and with #3, Berry… 1 day at home. It was tax season and I needed to be at the office.

But there are some nights where I am feeling very good and as a result, I have been getting up so urban mummy does not have to, even if that means staying up with the baby past midnight hoping she’ll have that great night’s sleep she needs to stay rejuviated and the baby will tire out and sleep an nour or two more.

Neither of them do…

And to top matters off… the boys have been waking up at at 6am to play, waking me up in the process. 

So allergies, and exhaustion, coupled with 2 rowdy boys and an over-tired wife and look out!

As a result, every little thing drove me crazy this weekend.  Watching the boys play tug-of-war with their expensive throwpillow – with their teeth – drove me batty.  As did walking in the kitchen on cooked rice that the boys dumped on the floor.  Grrr.

I know this is what being a Dad is all about and I know that all I need is one good night’s sleep to get me back on track.

But until them… Look out!


Posted in family

Thursday Thirteen re-post

Thirteen Questions I’d like to know about my wife…

I posted this in 2006 and after 2 more children, wonder how the answers will have changed.  Only time will tell.

1. Whom are you named after? What was she or he like?

2. What did you want to be when you grew up? Why? What options seemed open or closed to you?

3. What did you do for fun as a teenager? As a young adult?

4. What volunteer or paid work have you done? How has it been important to you?

5. What has been important to you as a daughter? A life partner? A mother? As a friend? As a member of a community?

6. Who have been your role models? What about them do you admire?

7. What words of wisdom did your mother/grandmothers/aunts share with you?

8. Who are your favorite cultural heroines? What appeals to you about them?

9. What world and national events have significantly influenced your life?

10. What in your life has brought or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment? Looking back, what would you have done differently? What would you do again?

11. What achievement in my life would bring you greatest joy?

12. What attribute would you like me to help you develop in yourself?

13. What mutual goal would you like us to accomplish?