I’m A Dad Behaving Dadly!

For more than a decade, I’ve watched a good number of my fellow mom and dad bloggers take their hobbies to the next level, landing book deals and realizing their dreams of seeing themselves on book store shelves and Amazon pages.

I’m happy to announce that it is finally my turn to make the transition from computer screen to printed page.

No, it’s not a book deal. That was never a dream of mine.

But it is a book!

Dads Behaving DADLY2 Front CoverDads Behaving Dadly 2: 72 More Truths, Tears and Triumphs is a collection of honest, heart-warming, and humorous stories by fathers from all over the world, including me! It’s the follow-up to last year’s wildly successful book, which did such a great job showing how dads can be active and involved parents.

The first volume did so well that editors Hogan Hilling and Al Watts decided to do a second book. And, of course, they felt that the state of Idaho needed some representation, so they contacted me about submitting a story of my own.

I like the idea of being included with 71 other fathers as we tell our tales of modern fatherhood. If you don’t like my story, just turn the page and get your money’s worth out of any of the other dads. It’s not all riding on me.

Honestly, though, I almost didn’t make it to the deadline. It took me a long time to write something for consideration, because the only idea that came to mind was an incident that happened to my family about seven years ago. It was a traumatic event, one which still gives me the shivers, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to relive those negative emotions, however briefly they passed through my life.

After several months, I finally decided to try typing out my little story. I ripped that band-aid, and found that it wasn’t so bad. It actually felt kind of good to get my tale of fatherly fear off my chest.

Does that whet your appetite? Do you want to know more about what caused me so much pain and frustration? Well, you’ll just have to buy the book when it comes out. All I can tell you now is that my story may or may not involve a bear, a serial killer, and the Crown Jewels of England.

There will be such a wide variety of voices that you can’t help but love this book. Dads from all different backgrounds, races, and family dynamics, will appear. There are working, at-home, divorced, step, single, military and gay dads, as well as dads of children with special needs. I know many of these guys, and they are all incredible writers. It’s an honor to be listed among them.

Dads Behaving Dadly 2: 72 More Truths, Tears and Triumphs debuts in June, and will be on sale at all the usual places. Watch for it! I’m sure I’ll remind you about it when the times comes.

A Child’s Guide to Vegetables

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My kids have always loved their veggies. But only under certain conditions. Long ago, when they were younger, I developed this simple Child’s Guide to Vegetables to help me avoid mealtime rebellion.

1. Carrots must be raw, not cooked.

2. Broccoli must be cooked, not raw.

3. Celery must be 2 inches or longer, never chopped into small pieces.

4. Corn must be on the cob, never loose on the plate.

5. Tomatoes are evil, but ketchup is heavenly.

6. Beans are gross, while refried beans are delicious.

7. Green beans are tolerable by themselves, but disgusting when mixed with macaroni and cheese.

8. Peas are fun to eat, but if one gets smashed, the party’s over.

9. Mixing different vegetables together is forbidden, as it’s simply too much work sorting them out to eat individually.

10. Brussels sprouts. Are you insane?

None of these rules made much sense to me at the time, except for the one about brussels sprouts (yuck), but at least the kids ate their veggies in one form or another.

These days, as my son and daughter have grown into maturing teens, only a few of the rules still ring true.

I’ll just stay quiet on which ones.

Calling Dr Cocoa

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“I can’t wait to get sick again!”

That’s what I expected my kids to say once I showed them Dr. Cocoa, a new children’s cough and cold medicine made with real chocolate.

I grew up with the usual cherry-flavored cough syrup. To this day, anything with a strong cherry flavoring brings back unpleasant memories of childhood illness. Cherry Coke is the worst. It might as well be a glass full of Robitussin in my mind.

So, I was immediately intrigued by Dr. Cocoa when they sent me a few samples. Who doesn’t like chocolate? And why was it never added to cough medicine before?! Continue reading

The 10 Worst Household Chores

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You’d think this would be the easiest list to compile, since all household chores can be viewed as distasteful. Nobody likes chores, but there are definitely some that are worse than others.

Top Ten Worst Household Chores

10. Dusting. I just can’t get excited about dusting. Vacuuming, yes, wiping shelves with a rag, no. Maybe it’s because the vacuum is a power tool and we all know that men love to have machines doing their work for them. Besides, dusting involves rearranging perfectly placed objects and knick-knacks. Anyone with even an ounce of OCD knows how frustrating this can be.

9. Clearing clutter. I’ve learned to dislike this only through daily repetition and the perception that it never gets any better. Will the clutter ever be gone? No, of course it won’t. Clutter abhors a vacuum.

8. Folding laundry. I’m good at cleaning the clothes, but my enthusiasm wanes once it’s out of the dryer. Again with the machines. Laundry, however, is a great excuse to binge-watch something on Netflix. Second only to folding it is putting it all away. You just know the kids are going to dump that neatly folded pile onto the floor of their closet.

7. Cleaning bathtubs and showers. I don’t mind cleaning toilets. It’s immediate and satisfying. Tubs and showers, on the other hand, seem like they should just clean themselves. They get a daily rinsing with soap and hot water when someone use them. Why should I have to do more?

6. Clearing out the refrigerator. Every few weeks, the fridge gets too crowded and I have to sort through the leftovers. There’s nothing good about lifting up the corner of a container of three-week old tuna casserole. Or discovering that a bowl of strawberry Jell-O has been knocked over and the contents are now pooled at the bottom of the fridge behind the veggie drawer. It also pains me to mentally add up all the money wasted on rotten food.

5. Cleaning cat barf. I’m truly thankful that our cats seem to have a preference for barfing only in the basement. It still has to be cleaned up, and I hate doing it, but at least it’s on bare concrete or old pieces of carpet. When they do hit an upstairs carpet or sofa, it’s enough for me to start Googling how much I could get selling them for scientific experiments.

4. Scrubbing pots and pans. I enjoy clearing the kitchen counter, rinsing off dishes, and loading up the dishwasher each night. But when a big pot or pan requires some heavy duty scrubbing, I tend to avoid it for a few days. “Let it soak” is my mantra. Yes, let it soak for a very, very, very long time.

3. Cleaning bathroom sink drains. I’ve purchased fancy swizzle stick things and all different brands of Drano-type goop, but nothing cleans a sink drain as well as your bare fingers. There’s really no other way to tug that moldy mass of hair, toothpaste, soap, spit, and god-knows-what-else out of that hole. It almost feels like you’ve removed a tumor from the sink.

2. Scooping the cat litterbox. The cats have shown up on this list again. Why have them if they’re such a chore? Because they’re extremely cute and lovable and we forgive them their disgustingness. Our cats are BIG, and they eat A LOT. So, naturally, I never look forward to sifting out their litterbox. Seventeen years I’ve been doing it, and it still makes me gag.

And now, the #1 Worst Household Chore:

1. Paying bills. Of all the dirty, disgusting, painful chores I have to perform around this house, sitting down to pay the bills is the only one that gives me a headache and nausea, and generally leaves me in a foul mood for several hours. It’s one of the few chores that is on a deadline and can’t be put off. It’s also not advisable to perform this chore while under the influence. Scrubbing toilets? Sure, have a few glasses of wine first. Paying the mortgage? Better be sober. One of the sure signs of maturity is the ability to pay your bills on time, and in full. But, just like with a lot of other aspects of growing up, nobody said you had to like it. Finally, this is the only chore that can grow exponentially if you fail to perform all the other unpleasant chores around the house. For that, it tops my list.

Hang Time

I’ve thought about this for a long time, and I’m sorry to have to say it.

It’s time for me to hang it up.

There are various reasons, but number one is I’m tired.

Very tired.

I’ve been tip-toeing around the issue for weeks now.

It’s just getting harder and harder to come up with the right words to express myself.

Sometimes I feel like nobody is even listening!

So, that’s it. I am decided.

There’s no talking me out of it.

I’m going to hang it up.

Kids, next time why don’t you just do it yourself so your dad doesn’t have to constantly be hanging it up for you!

Okay? Thanks.

Oh, and if it smells funny, please DO NOT hang it up. Toss it in the laundry room and I’ll wash it.

Top 6 “I Have A Bad Feeling About This” for Parents

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As parents, it seems like not a day goes by when we don’t get some sense of dread or disappointment involving or surrounding our children. Thankfully, these feelings are usually minor. We get over them quickly, or at least with very little pain and suffering.

With apologies to George Lucas, here are my
Top 6 “I Have A Bad Feeling About This” For Parents

1. The most common one occurs while sitting on the toilet, usually after you’ve concluded your business, when you look over to see that there is no toilet paper on the roll. How many times do we have to tell our kids to replace the paper after they’ve used it up?
Continue reading

Let’s Hear It For the Dads!

1927610_43638708793_7776_nAfter seventeen years of being a stay-at-home dad in a stay-at-home mom world, I’m used to it now.

Back when I first adopted this role, I would easily get flustered and angry.

But now I just laugh about it.

We were at an end-of-the-year homeschool picnic when one of the organizers started calling up the kids by grade so we could give them a round of applause.

After she finished up with the high schoolers and we clapped, she looked around and said, “And now, let’s hear it for the moms who worked tirelessly all year to teach these wonderful children. Yay moms!”

And that was it. She thanked everyone for coming and told us all to have a good time.

I looked around to see if any other dads were thinking what I was thinking, but then I realized there weren’t any other dads at the picnic.

And rather than get upset, I simply shook my head and smiled. Continue reading

My Son Won’t Talk to Me!

My son didn’t talk until he was almost three years old.

It kind of runs in the genes. I didn’t talk until I was four.

By the time he was eight, he wouldn’t stop talking. His vocabulary was huge, and the ideas coming out of his head were sometimes stunning. But the problem back then was the speed of his words. He spoke slowly and carefully, a by-product of years of speech therapy with Miss Erica encouraging him to “Sound. Out. The Words.”

Most adults had the patience to hear him out, but many kids his age did not. They would interrupt or talk over him, which would cause frustration and increasing shyness on his part. Continue reading

Evil Elves and Messy Rooms

My daughter spun a tall tale last week about evil elves who live in her closet. It was yet another excuse to not sleep in her room. I checked her room out thoroughly and declared it to be free of elves, but she was not convinced and spent another night in mommy and daddy’s bed.

But what if I was wrong? What if there really are evil elves in there? I’m beginning to think that my daughter is telling the truth! Continue reading

I Want To Be My Kids’ Hero

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I noticed my four-year-old with her thumb in her mouth. I said, “Aren’t you a little old to be sucking your thumb?” She replied, “I not sucking my thumb. I cleaning my face like a cat.” And then she proceeded to wipe spit all over her nose, cheeks, and forehead. Well, okay… Just as long as she doesn’t start using the litterbox.

I write things like this down so that we can have a good laugh about it when she’s grown up. Sharing good memories is one of my favorite pastimes. If only I had more people to do it with. Most of my friends and family profess to having Swiss-cheese memories, but I think that’s just an excuse to avoid dredging up any bad times they may have had. In my life I’ve had pain, disappointment and plain bad luck, and I’m not afraid of letting those ghosts out for some fresh air. Remembering the past can sometimes be the best way of figuring out the future for myself and my family. Continue reading