Archive for the ‘fatherhood’ Category

The Lady Loves me…

October 19, 2007

Have I ever mentioned the fact that my almost-6 year old daughter has a thing for Elvis?

Turns out she’s fascinated by Elvis.. well more accurately, Elvis, Priscilla and Lisa-Marie.

I find myself answering a flurry of questions… Why was he called ‘The King’? Was Priscilla the Queen? How did get so fat? Why are all those ladies screaming?

Turns out she also loves the YouTube. The YouTube has the Elvis. Actually, it has an untold number of Elvis and Priscilla slideshows set to music and snippets of concert footage. Turns out Elvis Fans have figured out The YouTube too!

So I’ve steered her away from Bratz, only been to Build-A-Bear-Empty-A-Wallet once. Kept her on the straight and narrow so far. And the fact that she prefers the young handsome Elvis to the old fat sweaty one makes it that much easier to live with.

Elvis movies are the next wave. While in Vegas a few weeks back, we picked up a VHS copy of Viva Las Vegas for her. It’s wearing thin after about 40 plays (seriously). We know the words to “The Lady Loves Me” almost completely. Which in itself leads to more questions like: What is Russian Roulette?, What is a moonlight tete a tete? What is playing hard to get?

We signed out Blue Hawaii from the library only last week in a bid for some sanity.

However, if I have learned one thing during this stage of fatherhood, it is this….

Ann Margret was indeed the hotness… 😉


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Daddy’s day…

June 17, 2007

To all fathers out there. Happy Father's Day.

Make sure to celebrate it with those that make you a father. Namely
your sons or daughters.

Hope you all enjoy the day.

Eyedrop Hell

February 9, 2007

I never thought it could be so hard to administer eye drops to a 5 year old girl. With a case of pinkeye recently picked up, my duty today was to keep the little one out of school and give her a drop in each eye three times. It’s amazing how the survival instinct kicks in when you approach someones eyes with an object.

First I took my typical common sense negotiating route. For two hours we bandied back and forth:

Me: You have to take the eyedrops. It will help get rid of the pinkeye. If you don’t, you might not make it to so & so’s birthday party on Saturday.

Her: No thank you daddy. I don’t like eye drops.

I hate it when she pulls the politeness card.

We struggled. We yelled. I tried ultimatums, bargaining, dares, humour, every trick in my admittedly skinny book.

After two hours, Daddy’s patience had worn razor thin. A quick google search yielded a Yahoo discussion thread suggesting something like the following:

1. Sit on the floor or bed.
2. Lay the child flat on her back, between your legs with her head between your thighs.
3. Place (or more accurately wrestle) her arms beneath each of your thighs.
4. Utilize your lower legs to pin hers if required.
5. Using two hands (and a modicum of force) administer said eyedrops.
6. Praise the child and deal with your guilt.

It worked flawlessly. What also amazed me was that once she blinked a few times and received several kisses from her pop, it was like it had never happened.

The next time was only slightly easier. Still a struggle, but less so. And papa’s guilt was more easily buried.

You’d really think after all these years there’d be a better way.

Somebody set me straight on Hip-hop for 5 year olds

December 13, 2006

1. Breakfast done, Dad flips it to The Learning Channel and then heads to the kitchen to ready the school lunch for his almost-five year old daughter.

2. Dad overhears the backbeat of hip-hop music and some rapping.

3. Peeking into the living room, it’s Hip Hop Harry. He’s rappin’ the benefits of sharing, playing fair and staying fit.

4. It’s kinda like Barney, only instead of being annoyingly sanitized and corny, he’s leading a breakdance competition to end the show.. oh yeah, and he’s a bear wearing a big medallion, not a purple dinosaur.

5. In the show-ending dance off, each kid takes a turn in the circle, body-popping, spinning around – y’know all the moves, but everyone – even the girls- are dancing with a very serious, almost grimace on their faces. It’s like they’re saying ‘yeah, that’s right.. I’m a bad mofo..’.

6. Tonight, almost-five year old is quietly singing/rapping, ‘Go Harry..Go Harry..Go Harry..’

Ok. I’m torn. I’m not supposed to pre-judge. I told myself I’d always be open to new things. But in my head I’m thinking, “Hip-hop aimed at 3 to 6 year olds????”

I know that listening to hip-hop doesn’t turn you into a street hood. Even I like listening to it sometimes. But can you honestly tell me it wasn’t borne out of that culture? Why are so many hip-hop videos about SUV ridin’ maniacs tearin’ down da house?

Yo yo yo… I don’t have a problem with the hip-hop. It can be da bomb so to speak. But 3 to 6 year olds?? C’mon. Would there be a complaint if a show was created with goth-type characters to the backbeat of something like Marilyn Manson (does that even have a backbeat?) ?

Am I simply a confused middle-aged Canadian father whose falling into the conservative trappings of so many before him? I don’t have a problem discussing the state of death metal with my 17 year old nephew. Why am I so confused with this?

Somebody please set me straight.

Flushed Away, Snack Bar Ripoff, and Inept Parenting

November 27, 2006

We went out to see a matinee flick this afternoon. The intent was to see Happy Feet but when we got there we saw that it was rated PG. Rather than waste 30 bucks to have to pull my almost-five year old out of their mid-way through the picture, we opted to see Flushed Away instead. It was G-Rated and the characters looked similar to the last Wallace & Grommit flick we saw (and similar to those in Chicken Run) both of which I liked. So we had made our choice.

Three main comments on the outing:

1. I absolutely loved the movie. It was like the vast majority of kiddy movies these days in that it had a good action packed story with enough grown-up references thrown in to keep the parents entertained. Incidentally, Curious George is the only film I’ve paid money for in recent memory that didn’t do this – although I still loved that one too. Flushed Away was unique in that it had a real UK bent to it. It seemed more aimed at the UK/European market than the US. Refreshing really. The humour was top notch, very clever and witty. Even the odd bit of toilet humour (literally) was done with intelligence. The top bad guy was a large frog (with a penchant for Royal Family memorabilia) and his cousin’s band of French Ninjas (frogs as well) was absolutely priceless. Very very much fun. I highly recommend it. I will definitely purchase it when it comes out, possibly more for me than for my daughter. 🙂

2. While this is nothing new, I have to say that paying over 12 bucks for a regular Coke, small popcorn and small bottle of water is absolute highway robbery. You can rest assured that come winter, the coat pockets and my wife’s purse will be stocked with the requisite snacks and bottled water before we arrive at the theatre. I felt raped walking away from that snack counter.

3. Listen people. If you’re going to wait in line at the snack bar with several offspring in tow, then either take control of them, or get some help. I had a 3 year old behind me inexplicably grab the seat of my pants (!) A quick turn around yielded only a meek and embarrassed smile from the parent supposedly in control of this pack. No apology was made of course. To further exacerbate the situation, after 10 minutes of standing in line I finally found myself at the counter with 4 strange kids wriggling around right beside me (two on each side). My wife and daughter were already in the theatre waiting for Daddy to make the snack run. Now don’t get me wrong, I know kids are excited when they’re at the movies, but I have a thing about instilling some instruction in my daughter about respecting people’s space. You wait in line, you wait your turn. You don’t go jumping around, bumping into people and pushing your way up beside someone in front. Maybe it’s just me, but I see this behaviour all the time. If you met me you’d know I’m all for having fun (I’m the Dad sitting playing dolly’s with his daughter in the Doctor’s waiting room, or supplying just enough ticklish touch to generate fits of 4 year old belly-laughter in the shoe store), but I also hold sacred the job of defining what’s right and wrong, both by instruction and by example. Why do so many others fail to do the same?

So there you have it: great movie, ridiculous prices and inept parenting skills. We ran the gamut this afternoon.

If there are any parents out there who’ve seen Happy Feet, please let me know if you liked it and what it was like. While our almost-five year old daughter is not exactly shielded from the realities of life, I’d like not to spend 30 bucks and have her traumatized. That can wait until she’s 7. 🙂


Raising My Game

November 24, 2006

It is becoming apparent to me that I’ve got to raise my game.

While I have enough trouble managing my own (pitifully uninteresting) personal schedule, I’m bound and determined to do a better job with my progeny. Does it warrant a trip to Office Depot for the ubiquitous fridge-mounted whiteboard calendar? I’m beginning to think so.

If it’s not Pizza Day, it’s Pyjama Day, or Hot Dog Day, or Gym Day, or our turn for Snack Day, or a Field Trip… Just once I’d like to remember some important school date (and any date that is important to my daughter is important to me folks) more than 12 hours before it’s upon us.

I’m honestly not sure if I was born with the scheduling gene, it just comes to me with such forced difficulty that it just *can’t* be natural to me.

And while I’ve got my priorities straight enough to not *really* get flustered with myself when I send her to school with a full lunch on a ‘Pizza Day’, I also want to imprint the message that ‘yes, preparedness is a good thing’.

Although we have set very practical limits on the amount of extra-curricular activities (there *has* to be time for just plain fun after all), winter enrollment in skating already done, and swimming and possibly early spring gymnastics are on the horizon. In other words, the schedule will not be getting any more empty in the coming months and years.

Clearly I have to raise my game.

Innocent and Not Yet Assimilated

November 22, 2006

It was a typically ‘not quite as lazy as I’d like’ Sunday morning. My daughter on the bed, watching TV and waiting for Daddy to get showered-up so we could be on our way to Grandma’s. She’s watching Backyardigans or something similar. Suddenly, she calls out “Daddy, something’s wrong with the TV…”. I peek my head into the room and ask her what the problem is. She says, ‘My show keeps stopping and then … see? There it goes again Daddy!’.

What my daughter was experiencing was a broadcast TV commercial.

Normally she’s always watching TreehouseTV, CBC or PBS. None of the three show any commercials in the middle of their shows and even then, only network promotional commercials between programs (or whatever it is you call it when network advertise their own programming). In other words, my daughter hasn’t seen any (or at least very very few) ‘Barbie’, ‘Polly Pocket’, ‘My Little Pony’, or thankfully ‘Bratz’ commercials in her first 4.5 years of life. That particular morning we had it tuned to CBS or NBC or some such. I explained that it was a commercial, that I thought it was annoying and she’d be better off if I switched the channel. She offered no argument. 😉

One benefit of this has been the fact that we can routinely peruse the toy aisles at the local department store without cries of “I want this” or “Please please please get me that”. Sure, it won’t last much longer, but I’m enjoying it while I can.

Of course my daughter already has at least a dozen Barbies (mostly gifts or fruits of my mother-in-law’s penchant for Saturday morning garage sales) and she’s quite familiar with all the big franchised products when we pass them in the aisle. But there isn’t that intense desire for specific toys yet. If there is a desire, it is not yet strong enough to warrant whining about it – thankfully.

I had simply forgotten about the intensely focused marketing that happens on regular broadcast TV during children’s programming. So long ago are the days when I drooled over Smash-Up-Derby, Stretch Armstrong or the latest and greatest Tyco-TRX racetrack setup (I was the proud owner of a Super-Duper Double Looper no less!).

I look back at those days fondly, but I have no sense (nostalgic or otherwise) that my daughter is missing anything. There’s still plenty of time for her to be coaxed into buying and begging the latest and greatest things by the great advertising machine that is modern media.

For now, she is not yet assimilated. And that, is a truly wonderful thing.

They Always Know

November 16, 2006

If you’re a father…no wait.. a parent… no… actually anybody at all who wants to read a powerful blog post – then read this one.