What the Teachers Didn’t Teach

Dear School,

I want to thank you so much for teaching my son. He is in his third year of school and the amount he has learned is astonishing. As a teacher, I know kids are like sponges and absorb knowledge like their shirts absorb ketchup. He’s learned to read chapter books. He can add and subtract and is even starting to multiply! He can skip count clear past a hundred. He understands the seasons, senses, space, and so much more that doesn’t start with “S” like compassion, condensation, and compasses.

However, not everything he has learned is listed in the curriculum guide.

Zombies are not in your curriculum, but he walks around the house with limp hands dangling from arms stuck out in front of him, moaning .

Where does Pokemon fit into the curriculum? I can’t find it anywhere in the syllabus. Yet, he is almost obsessed with it. He’s brought home some cards. Were they from the cumulative activity to wrap up their unit on Pokemon? I’m not thinking so.

And ninja training? Which outcome taught him to be a level 3, 8, 15, 20? He’s not even sure what level ninja he is but apparently someone is teaching him to be a ninja and his ninja level is not that of who is teaching him. So he runs around, sneaks around, hides in the yard, and climbs the tree. Of course, I join him because I’m a level 105 ninja (or so I’ve told him).

Lastly, thank you for introducing him to Minecraft. It’s the candy crush, flappy bird, crack for kids game that so far I’ve been able to keep at bay. Though, I’m not sure for how much longer.

Thank you, school, for going above and beyond and teaching him so much more than is required by the core curriculum standard outcome goals.

A dad trying to be “cool”

(Has your little one learned something not quite educational from school?)


20 Reasons Why My Son’s Crying?

I saw this once and thought it was hilarious. Since imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery, I thought I’d make my own…

1) He wants to go outside

2) It’s time to come inside for supper.

3) He’s not allowed to have Cheesies (I was in the process of making supper).

4) Because I’m changing his diaper.

5) I put his milk in the wrong cup.

6) I have no idea why.

7) The garbage truck won’t drive by our house (it comes on Tuesdays and it’s now Wednesday).

8) His banana broke in half.

9) I won’t read “Toolbox Trouble” until he gets his pajamas on.

10) The T.V. is on.

11) I’m snuggling him on the couch instead off the puff (giant beanbag chair filled with shredded        

12) I’m upstairs or in the bathroom and didn’t bring him with me.

13) He is in the barbershop to get his haircut.

14) He’s not allowed to put shoes in the hamper.

15) I won’t let him flush a whole roll of toilet paper.

16) I tried to help him with his coat, shoes or pants (putting on or taking off)

17) I put ketchup on his hamburger.

18) He has to hold my hand while walking across the street.

19) His Cozy Coupe isn’t cooperating (fell over, got stuck, etc..)

20) I helped him out of his high chair when he wanted mom to help.

20 Reasons Why My Son’s Laughing soon to follow!

Things I want to Teach my Sons

Things I want to teach my sons…

1) Treat people kindly.
Not just girls/women, but treat everyone with respect, whether they deserve it or not. I hope I can teach them to help those in need as best they can. Offer to lend a hand, help out. Hold the door, clean a mess (that one will be tough). Don’t be rude. Share. Be accepting of everyone. This is a diverse world and it takes all kinds to make it go ’round.

2) Hard work will get you farther than the short cut.
Work hard, even if no one is watching. If you’re going to do something you might as well make it worthwhile. Take the extra time to do it right. A lot of times, if you rush through something in a hurry to get it done, it gets done wrong and you (or someone else) will have to do it again. Do it right the first time. In school, work hard to get the best grades you can get. So you’re in Primary (kindergarten), not ready for university? Without a good foundation the whole structure is worthless. Work hard and make it a habit.

3) Life isn’t always fair.
Some people have all the luck. But if you’ve worked hard (see #2) the luck will come to you. Eventually. 

4) Sportsmanship 
 Play to win, but if you lose that’s okay, too. Winning is fun, losing is educational. Congratulate the winning person/team for a good game, and understand you can’t win every time, someone has to lose. It’s a game and about having fun. If it’s no longer fun, it’s no longer a game.

5) Love science – ask questions, find answers, discover more questions.
The great thing about science is that if you have a question and set out to find the answer either through research or experimentation, you’re bound to come out of it with more questions than had at the start. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to find the answers. Never stop learning.

6) How to dance.
HAHAHAHAHA Never mind… I’ll get mom to teach them this one. I’ve got the rhythm of  a June Bug. I can do the 8th grade shuffle pretty good though. But I dance anyway.

7) How to cook
Not just hotdogs. Real food. Hamburger, chicken, fish, steak, casseroles, veggies, spices. Canadian, American, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Korean (I need to work on those, myself!). Don’t be afraid to try new foods. Or old foods in new ways. They will know how to use the settings on the stove, the difference between baking and broiling and how timing can be everything.

8) Be proud of what you do
“That is an awesome Lego tower you just built but your brother just knocked it over with one kick. ” Create for the sake of creating. It’ll only take a second to destroy something that took time and hard work, create anyway. The joy is in the creating. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how big or small they are. But don’t brag about them, others will notice without you having to say.

9) Believe in a “higher up”
Something can’t come from nothing. This universe wasn’t created from nothing. Believe in God wherever you find God, in church, in nature, in yourself.

Following Directions

Crash loves to go for a walk to the local corner store with his friend (a teenager who lives next door). This evening he asked if he could go while I was mowing the yard. Of course, I said yes. But I told him he wasn’t allowed to get anything because he’d had his daily intake of junk already (Nanny and Pop had taken him to DQ for ice cream). He asked “what about a piece of gum?” I told him no, he wasn’t to get anything. He wasn’t happy, which meant he understood my direction.

Half an hour later he returns with his friend and shows me the piece of gum he got from the store. I know he didn’t take any money with him so I also know he got that quarter from his friend.

Here’s my dilemma.
1) It’s just a piece of gum. So what?
2) I told him not to get anything, yet he still did. Even if it was just a piece of gum.
3) He got money from his friend to get that piece of gum.
4) It was just a quarter.

I don’t want to over react over a piece of gum. But I don’t want to let it slide either because he did something I specifically told him not to. Also, he had to get money from his friend to get that gum. I know it was just a quarter and it was also just change left over from whatever she got for herself. But I don’t want him asking friends for money so he can buy himself stuff. Even if it is just a quarter. Even if it is just a piece of gum.

I was still mowing upon his return and I gave him a stern “I thought I told you NOT to get anything”. I could tell he clearly understood my disappointment from his expression. Later, while I was helping him get ready for bed I explained to him that if he couldn’t do as I asked he wouldn’t be allowed to go with his friend any more. He knows I’m serious.

It’s just a piece of gum.
I told him to get nothing, yet he still did. Is it too far of a leap to “I told you no drugs”?

What would you have done?

Different Kind of Dad

I like to think I’m a different kind of dad.
No, not better. Just different.
And different is good.

I love to be highly involved with our two li’l dudes. That’s probably just the teacher in me.

Now, when I say “highly involved” I don’t mean I’m with them, holding their hand, instructing them  every 8 seconds and protecting them from every danger.  I love playing with them and watching their imaginations take flight.  I love providing them with new things to learn and watching the “ah ha” moments. Of course, it’s easier with Bang, he’s only 22 months. He memorizes his picture book. He loves “Freight Train” by Donald Crews. He finishes the sentences and knows the colors. We’re working on the counting part. But when Crash (5) reads a book and he can read assistant, experiment and other big words, I feel the same joy.

We play your normal games like hide and seek and tag and with toys. The real fun comes when we make up a game. Then we get to make up the rules, too. We learned fast to make the rules fit our needs. If you’re allowed to use your hands, then I’m allowed to use the pool noodle (I think that was from a variation of soccer). We jump on the trampoline. We go running. Crash can run a mile in 14 minutes (though he usually gets bored at a 1/2 mile). Bang walked a mile and three quarters.

I take Bang to playgroup. There’s usually one other dad there. (Though I didn’t go today because of work)

So I’m involved. Whoopee.

I also love to cook. I try to find a new recipe at least once a week. It usually ends up being every other week, of course. But I try. Today I made :

It’s a cross between potpie and dumplings. The kids loved it. Which is where I have to be careful. I tried a taco bake once… they wouldn’t touch it because it was too spicy.  Otherwise, I’m proud of them. They eat their fruit and veggies. They actually ASK for them! Though Bang wouldn’t eat much if we didn’t mix into mashed potatoes – chicken, fish, burger, pork, veggies… all of it gets mixed in.
I clean. Not thoroughly. If it needs a deep cleaning, then Wifey will have to do that 😛 (Love you, babe!). But I clean… sweep, vacuum, dishes, toys, the bathroom. Like the someecard® says, cleaning with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.
I do laundry. I’ve even gotten a bit particular about it. Shirts need to be folded with the picture facing OUT (dear Wifey likes to fold them with the picture IN… and I don’t complain because I’m thankful when she helps, but I do fix it).
I change poopy diapers. I wipe poopy bums.
I bathe the kids. I like to bathe them together. It seems to save time and it’s more fun, though I’d get less wet if I just got in with them.
I put kids to bed.
I make lunches.
I do a lot. But it’s not so much that I do it, as it is that I help do it. Wifey does all of this, too.


Happy Accidents

I’ve seen a lot of posts recently about parents not being perfect and doing what they think is right and everyone else be damned for judging.

Well, guess what?
I am perfect.

I don’t make mistakes. I have “happy accidents” (thanks Bob Ross).

Once you realize that what you do (for yourself and your child) is what you have decided is best for you and the child is what’s right, not a mistake. Sure you may come across a technique that works better than others. The time out that works for child A, child B laughs at. Child A’s reward jar is overflowing while child B’s is, and always will be, empty. Maybe you’ve tried a hundred different motivators and punishments and encouragements to find the one that works. Are the ninety-nine failures mistakes?


I compare it to the science fair projects that I taught to 4th graders for 6 years.  Before the experiment was done the student(s) needed to be sure that their experiment was valid; is it testing the problem you are trying to solve? Much like I do as a dad. Will this punishment stop him/ them from doing whatever it they just did?  Like when Crash emptied the bathtub water on to the floor while pretending to be Shamu. Will this reward help teach him to clean his messes? In science, there are no wrong answers. A hypothesis is true or false- not right or wrong (it took him 10 minutes and 3 giant pool towels to clean the bathroom mess and he still won’t clean his other messes). If your hypothesis was true, then you proved what you were testing. If it was false then what you thought would happen, didn’t. In parenting, when that happens, make sure you try something DIFFERENT next time. Insanity is doing the same thing you did before but expecting a different outcome
As parents we’re often too close to insanity to begin with.

Parenting is trial and error (mostly error) until you figure out what works.

It’s not right and wrong.

It’s not black and white. Sometimes it’s VERY colorful all over the walls. Sometimes it’s purplish and they have no idea how they got that bruise.

It is doing the best you can.

It is about making “happy accidents”.

Now go be perfect.
Just like me (and my wife, the mother of my children, the keeper of reason and logic and the middle of the bed).

Mother’s Day

Well, Mother’s Day is around the corner. I’m going to help my kids give their mother a great day.

If they poop, I’ll wipe. 
The 22 month old will need diaper changes unless I let him run around the yard naked. Which is a major possibility. He’s only 22 month, he doesn’t know any better. And chances are I’ll snap a few picture for blackmail when he’s a teenager. “Don’t want to help clean? Then I’m sharing your ‘naked baby jumping on the trampoline’ pictures with the world.” The 5 year old is still learning wipe himself. God forgive if he ever poops and we’re not there to clean him up. He’s not sure where to stop wiping so it ends up near his neck. Well, on Mother’s Day I’ll be there for him.

I shall bring peace, order, cleanliness and silence upon the house like a temple of the Tibetan Monks. You know, those one who vow years of silence. Though cleaning with kids around is like shoveling the snow before the blizzard’s over. So maybe I’ll only bring peace, order and silence. The cleanliness will have to wait until the kids move out. Silence is easy. Instead of playing Hungry Hungry Hippos we’ll play Memory. Instead of playing Tag in the living room we’ll play hide and seek. I’ll hide in the car, it’s sure to be quiet in there!

Fancy Arts and Crafts
We’ll make the fanciest crafts this side of China Taiwan Japan. Not that lame macaroni pasta jewelry, but flowers that say “I love you” and on each petal is written a trait that is loved. Or a card cut out in the shape of tulip. Or a Mother’s Day wheel – the kind that have a little window cut out and as she turns the wheel a reason mom is loved shows up in the window. I may even try making some silhouettes. LOL Should be interesting with the 22 month old… he’ll need to be sedated. Nah, I won’t sedate him… I should have enough duct tape to hold him still for a while.

Breakfast in Bed
I’ll make breakfast in bed. Though I’m not sure the oven will fit in the bedroom so I’ll make it in the kitchen and let her eat it in bed. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep the kids downstairs. They’ll either a) want to eat in bed with her and make a giant mess or b) want to eat their breakfast in bed, too and make a giant mess. I’ll turn them into little “mommy servants” and walk around like butlers with a dish towel draped over their arm. Mommy wants her breakfast, go get it. Mommy wants a drink, go get it. Mommy wants a cookie, go get it (and DON’T EAT IT ON THE WAY UP!).

Coupons for quiet time. Coupons for diaper duty pass. Coupons for meal of her choosing. Coupons for tidying (I’m a tidier not a cleaner). Coupons skip out on any duties she wishes… bathing kids (who often morph into Free Willy in the tub) or lunch making or Brita filter filling. Coupon for cleaning help. Coupon for playing whatever she wants on the iPod. Coupon for going wherever she wants (with or without rug rats).

You know why Father’s Day is in June? A month after Mother’s Day men said “heeeeeey wait a minute!”

Crash and Mom on Mother’s Day (Bang wanted NO part of getting his picture taken). We made her the “Wheel of Love” and three tulip shaped cards (and had chocolate, chocolate chip muffins and ice cream).


Without Instructions…

One of the first onesies we received when we first found out we were going to be parents said “Instructions not included”. Ain’t that the truth! We do the best we can with what we’re given. Bang, the 22 month old, is a growler/screamer. When he’s frustrated out comes this guttural growl (I try not to let him see me laugh). Crash, the nearly 6 year old, is a stomper. When things aren’t going his way his feet start stomping. I’ve tried to help them find calmer ways to release their frustrations, to no avail. They’re not hurting anyone or themselves so really I’m not too concerned about it anymore. Come to think of it, I swear when I’m frustrated (but only if the kids aren’t listening) (usually).

I don’t have the kids in EVERY program possible, consuming every minute of every day.  I take them to the backyard and we play and do yard work. I surely don’t get the 22 month old to rake the grass (usually) but he loves to come stir the compost bin with me (“check com” he calls it). Bang and I went for a forced march walk the other day. I let him walk instead of going in the stroller like he normally does (I took the stroller just in case). He walked a mile Tim’s (mmmm donuts) where he got in his stroller to hork down 2 chocolate Tim Bits (to hell with that healthy stuff, he just walked a mile!). Then I walked to the post office where he got out of the stroller and walked 3/4 of mile back home. I asked him many times “Do you want to get in the stroller?” Every time he answered in his little 22 month old way “Nooooo.” “Do you want to walk?” “Uh walk.” Meanwhile, Crash sometimes likes to go running… he can run a mile in 14 minutes. But usually he just runs 1/2 or 3/4. He’s ALWAYS running in the backyard. Since our everlasting winter is finally over, the trampoline is set up.

Yesterday was Saturday. I didn’t cook last night. We went to McDonalds! But there was a fundraiser there tonight… 10% went to a fundraiser for a new park. Bang, the 22 month old, ate 4 chicken nuggets and his happy meal size fries and some yogurt and some milkshake. He’s only 30 pounds… he’s average but boy was he hungry! His older brother (4 years his senior) ate the same thing PLUS a small milkshake for dessert).

We just do the best we can. Sure both kids have been yelled at, had hands smacked (and bums on very rare occasions) and even had time-outs on the stairs. They’ve had a chocolate dipped granola bar for breakfast, bribed with chocolate. I’ve begged them for 5 minutes peace and put on a movie to get that peace (if only they’d sit and watch it!). I’m too rough when I wrestle them. I chase often. Sometimes I’m a shark or a zombie or a pinchy crab or a tickle monster and I don’t stop until someone gets a boo boo or pees their pants. I fling, I spin, I toss, and I catch (usually). Being a dad is by far the best job ever! Turns out it’s a lot like being a husband 🙂