Thursday, December 11, 2014

As a dad what do I really want for Christmas?

I am a stay at home dad of twins plus a singleton. I am a member of the National at-Home Dad Network and attended my first convention in Denver this past September. I am in an online group and give advice and ask for advice. I've never claimed I'm super and don't expected to be treated like I am. I clean the house and take care of wife even comes home and cleans the house too...three kids can be hard to keep up with. With the holidays right around the corner I made my list. I want typical things, but they are specific to me. I asked for a streaming player, a ninja juicer/blender, anything Doctor Who, Michigan Wolverines stuff Rays Stuff...I even asked for stuff to do with the kids. So I am always interested when some where I go puts out a gift guide for gives me ideas. One of the parenting sites I love is Twiniversity...because well it's a lot of twinformation. I enjoy hearing from parents of twins...there are even a gaggle of at-home dads with twins. 

We dads can be touchy, and yeah we can be sensitive. We hate when we have people tell us were babysitting our own children...we also hate being made to feel incompetent. We are capable of caring for kids. We also don't need to write names on diapers to remember there names. 

When you make a list of stuff for dad don't insult us. I was reading the gift list for dads on Twiniversity  ( ) it was a great list except a few items but I was drawn to the opening picture of a dad with a sharpie writing names on diapers...I get it was intended to be humorous. Guess what it wasn't...also an ostrich pillow for naps at work really...

Okay so I looked at the mom gift guide ( ) you know they had pictures of... the gifts...even a fancy created image for the header...

Merry Christmas Dad we got you a dose of incompetence.

What do I really want for Christmas?

Stop insulting dads...please!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Summing up the At Home Dad Convention

What I did
I attended the 19th Annual At Home Dad Conference 
Why I went.
I have only been an at home dad for a year, why did I feel it was important to attend the National at Home Dad Convention? Because I care about myself. While that sounds very selfish it wasn't intended in that manner. Being at home is a lonely business, 80% of my conversations have been with humans under the age of 4. I love my wife and kids but I felt it was important for me to go, and so did my wife.

What I knew before I went
I had met these guys online and had conversations with them. Shared ideas, thoughts, successes and failures. We live a life in solitude and isolation but it's good to know that help and an understanding friend was just a Facebook message away.

What I learned
I share a bond with these guys from all corners of the country, even Canada. We know there are more of us out there and bringing the convention to as many Stay at Home Dads as possible is my new agenda. Support can come from anyone, even a stranger. You don't have to live in isolation. If you just reach out there is someone there to help you and who needs your help. The online acquaintances can quickly transform into friends. The bonds we share make us comfortable with each other. It doesn't matter if we get along. We all have a deep love for our children. 

Who I met
I met people from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes. The conversation ranged from sippy cups to sports.  I met guys that cared for one another even though they had just met. I met Dads     who only see each other once year at the convention and talked like they just saw each other yesterday. I even got to chat with Dads who had twins like me. But most importantly, I made friends. The group of strangers formed into a group of friends over the three days. 
What happened at the convention

Upon arrival we met in a small group and headed to the hotel. Introductions rarely occurred, it was more of a "nice to finally meet you" conversation. 
We started off with a service project where we sorted food donations at the Food Bank of the Rockies. Our work contributed to 8,260 meals.
 This is where I met the president of the network. It was the first time we have met face to face and I was curious how the meeting of all the internet friends would go. I realized how close the SAHD bond was right away when he gave me a hug and thanked me for coming and said its nice to finally meet you.

       That night we went for a Dad's night out with the Denver Dads Group to a Rockies Game at Coors Field. We witnessed a walk off win for the Rockies, if you were lucky enough to stay through the end. 
       The next morning brought more fun before the meat and potato of the convention began. We made the trek to voodoo doughnuts where I valiantly attempted to eat a very large donut (six regular donuts) in 80 seconds or less. That would be the only failure of the weekend.

       That afternoon we listened to Alberto Pellicer talk about the importance of play.  We had aN informative  presentation from car seats manufacture Britax. They even gave away car seats (I didn't win). A guest panel of some of the wives of at home dads presented as well. It was amazing insight to how the other half view us.
        The speaker,  Barbara Colorosso, the parenting expert, was amazing! She was funny, witty and well as a former nun!
We also he breakout sessions, including but not limited to, age based discussions, photography, literacy and starting a dads group. There was even a meeting in which we elected members to the board and went over business for the network.

      The weekend was filled with good times, great new friends, and learning experiences that will last a lifetime. The most important lesson is this; I am not alone!  There are others that may be different than me but we share a bond that will carry us through trying times as Stay at Home Dads. I'll see you in Raleigh for next year's convention.   

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The 5 Worst Kid's Meal Toys My Kids Have Unfortunately Were Disappointed With

5: The Minion Slide Whistle
This sorry excuse for a slide whistle didn't function at all. I was disappointed and thrilled at the same time. The rest of the minion toys were functioning and entertaining to my son.

4: World Cup Soccer Ball Things

I had no idea what they were from the yellow bird/duck thing resembled nothing I had ever seen before. When I googled them I discovered it was Tom and Jerry. Being made into soccer ball they lost all recognizable characteristics. They look like fat faces. Looking at the images be lofe the ball are removeable for the their holders as well.

3: The Blow Car

They looked like a cool concept and the cars were pretty sweet looking. However the masher blower thingy wasn't functional. The cars went less than 5 inches when it was mashed. Disappoint at it's best. 

2: NFL Rush Zone

Where do I start with these utter garbage pieces of crap. They were meant to look goofy, I hope. My thought was they would introduce my son to the NFL, instead they introduced him to crappy cheap toys that don't work. The ball never sat properly on the hand even with the notch system. Maybe stuffed footballs next time because I stepped on these hard crush proof (must be because I am not small) balls and fell several times.

Writing this had me nostalgic for my favorite toys I got from kids meals like the McDonald's Changeables or for you that don't care about copyrights the Transformer Foods.

Some of my favorites that my kids have received  were the Lego Cups and numerous Batman toys. He loves his Batman on the BatCycle that goes when you push down on the cape.

1: Spider-Man Pink
This attempt at gender segregation was horrendous. First of all Spider-Man isn't pink. He has never been pink. When approached about the gender segregation McDonalds denies it was gender specific. They say it wasn't designed for boy/girl separation but then why did the store ask if the meal was for a boy or a girl. I have 2 boys and 1 girl and I got 2 blue and red toys and one pink toy. Anyone that enjoys Spider-Man does so in the original form and does need a pink version of it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Transitioning to Year Two

With school beginning again for my wife I embark on my second year as a Stay at Home Dad. I reflect on my first year and recall the bitterness at being thrust into this adventure. If you read any of my previous post I was non-renewed for my teaching position. I loved my job teaching the kids in the county where I went to school.

I was overlooking three very important people when I wasn't fully embracing my new found position, my children. 

I have learned I am a minority in the SAHD field, most chose the position rather than being thrust into it by unemployment. Many of the guys feel alone and unsupported.

After a six months of looking I conceded and gave up on the job search and focused on my kids full time. I never looked back.

I guess what I am trying to say is I apologize for saying anything bad for being let go, it has truly been a gift. This last year has been a blessing. My infant twins are now full fledged toddlers. 

I have witnessed many things in my first year.
My oldest has become a wonderful big brother to the twins.

Many first for the twins have occurred as well.

First tooth.
First crawl.
First standing up.
First climb. 
First fall. 
First solid food. 
First non formula poop.
First words.
First Head injury....

Well some more enjoyable than others, but I can say I was there. It was me taking care of my kids. I fed them. I changed them. I comforted them. I put them down for naps. I was there when they woke up. I got them on a schedule.

I have discovered numerous things this year about being the at home parent. People judge you wether you're a man or a woman, people say things. I can be sensitive and I  have to remember that they may not mean it to come off as an insult or condescending remark. I have to keep an open mind like I want others to. It's more work in a day than I have ever done. I have held many jobs that I wouldn't consider easy but being the at home parent is hard and nonstop. I've had doctor visits, grocery store trips, trips to take mommy her lunch at work. 

Next month I will make the a trip to Denver for the annual At Home Dad Convention. There is even a National At Home Dad Network. I had never heard of them and I am grateful for their existence and support. There are many dads out there in the trenches and we share our successes and failures as well as our frustrations and "Dad Hacks". There is even a small online support group on Facebook. It contains only 600 plus dads. 
It has been the best year I have ever experienced. As the second year begins I no longer feel thrust into this position. I am choosing the most fulling, rewarding and noble position of being at home with the kids. I can't wait to see what happens in the years to come. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Navigating the Caribbean with Twins

While on a seven day cruise with the family, I was rewarded with a beach free day. (I hate sand!) It was my wife's present for my birthday, along with a spa visit for a shave and facial.
        The logistics seemed easy enough. Step one, wake up and dress twins. This task was relatively simple seeing that I am a Stay-at-Home dad to my twins and an older singleton, I do this daily. With them freshened and ready for the day, we tackled step two, breakfast with the twins. This is easier said than done.  On a cruise ship this can be an event, almost like dining out... I strapped them in the stroller and set out with a plan and executed that plan flawlessly. Okay I'll admit the dining room staff helped, they moved chairs for me and sliced the banana I asked for. Easy as pie you might say. With the toughest part of the morning completed, we headed to the pier. We rode the elevator down and exited on deck one for the gangway. On exiting the elevator my daughter proclaimed, "Nana!", which is what she calls my wife. I got off the boat with the twins at the same time as my wife got off the ship with our teenage niece and 3 year old! I was feeling pretty kick ass right about now. They had a 45 minute head start. When we got to the pier we posed as a family with a pirate for a photograph and then proceeded to the shops.

          I was looking forward to doing some shopping but was disappointed with the shops. There was very little room to navigate a double stroller and only a few shops were open and ready for customers.  Instead of shopping, I  eagerly pushed the twins around looking at the sights. However, it was a dreary day in the beautiful island of St. Martin. Although there was an overcast, it was already stifling hot and I was starting to bead with sweat. Then the sky began to open it's gates and a slight drizzle came down. So instead of waiting around for the shops to open and get soaked, we trudged back to the ship.
       We navigated through the security checkpoint back onto the pier and learned the nice local lady checking our "Sea-pass" cards was a twin. As you know, when you have twins everyone has their own twin story. We passed Mommy again, with a slight tantrum, and then headed back towards the ship and up the ramp. Our cards were scanned and then I spotted my new "nightmare"; the metal detector and bag x-ray machine.

I was in my own private twin hell and wondering how long it would last. What should take seconds  can take minutes and seem like hours when it comes to handling twins. I looked pitifully at the ship crew and dropped my head to stare at the floor for a second. I slowly raised my head and said, "I have to take them out, don't I?" My query was met with a resounding yes and I began the epic task. I unbuckled them and removed the first twin, my daughter, who is the patient one. I was still perplexed on what to do about her brother, the runner and climber, and the folding of the stroller.  I went for it in a quick dash. I let go of my daughter's hand and quickly evacuated my son from the confines of the stroller. In no time at all, my daughter darted for the X-ray machine. Of course, they automatically went in opposite directions. As I folded the stroller my son darted towards the pier while my daughter ran towards the innards of the ship. I quickly herded them again and readied myself to do the next step. I placed the stroller on the conveyor and walked them through the machine. I noticed a small line forming and hurried the stroller on the belt while my twins took off in opposite directions, once again. While I captured the runaway toddlers a large line was beginning to form behind me.

Finally, I walked my twins through the metal detector. We made it!  The worst was over... Then I looked at the stroller and realized I had to get them back in.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dad Dad Dadly

So I was having a twitter conversation with @DadatworkNJ and was inspired to rewrite Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice and here is the entire finished product!

Dad Dad Dadly

Yo, KID, Let's kick it!

Dad Dad Baby, Dad Dad Baby
All right stop, Elaborate and listen
Dad is back with my brand new inception
Something grabs my legs tightly
Parenting like a Dad daily and nightly
Will I ever stop? Yeah when they grow
Turn on the light it's the DAD show
To the diaper that I never mishandle
Light stove to heat up the soup from Campbell

Clean, Go rush the floor with brooms
I'm filling you with food so you aren't running on fumes
Dadly, when I play in the land of candy
I'm just your dad not a masked vigilante
Love it never leave it, I am your dad all day
You be on top of it, The kid is at play
If there is a bobo, Yo, I'll kiss it
Check this out as daddy solves it

Dad Dad Dadly, Dad Dad Dadly
Dad Dad Dadly, Dad Dad Dadly

Now dad being dad that is something
With the balls kicked in, still up for jumping
Quick to the point, to the remember no shaking
Cooking Moms like a cake for baking
Fixing rips and tears while wearing a thimble
Kids go crazy for the mouse symbol
Building the kids into winners like a Debartolo
I'm on my own during the day flying solo
Enduring the juvenile mermaid show
The smiles and laughter make the room glow
The career  on standby, I' a stay at home dad that's why
Did you care? No – I gave this dad thing a try
Kept on till they fill the diaper with a plop
Watch out do step on that block
That block was done

Yo – so I continued to DAD Fatherhood Ave.
Kids were ruling like a mussolini
Refusing to even eat zucchini
Jealous 'cause I'm home raising mine
Kids with the toys and Daddy at the head of the line
Ready for the haters that try to call
The haters acting I'll cause play dad at all
Lego ranged out as the fell
Wait what is that smell
Checking all the diapers real fast
Only to find out it was just gas
Bumper to bumper the mini van is packed
I'm trying to get home before dad is attacked
Babies on the prowl, You know what I mean
They climbs up my leg, looking like nap fiends
If there is a bobo, Yo, I'll kiss it
Check this out as daddy solves it

Dad Dad Dadly, Dad Dad Dadly
Dad Dad Dadly, Dad Dad Dadly

Doctor Seuss is my lyrical poet
Teaching life lessons in case you didn't know it
My house, that created all the fun around
Enough to make superman leap the building in a bound
'Cause my kids like to take milk an make it spill
Parenting rhymes that make your wife run for the pill
Dad being the primary caregiver, heck of a concept
Dads generate the hype and you want to step on us
Dads won't trade, even getting kicked in the balls by a baby ninja
So hard and fast, Other Dads say, "damn"
Serving the kids yummy toast and jam
They're Hercules and I'm their Zeus
I have to go one just dropped a deuce...
If there is a bobo, Yo, I'll kiss it
Check this out as daddy solves it

Dad Dad Dadly, Dad Dad Dadly
Dad Dad Dadly, Dad Dad Dadly

Yo, kid lets have fun! I'm not your mother!

Dad Dad Dadly Too cool, Dad Dad Dadly Too cool Too cool
Dad Dad Dadly Too cool, Dad Dad Dadly Too cool Too cool