About stomperdad

I am a lover of family, books and the outdoors (year round). Sometimes in that order. I hike, I kayak, I eat pie. I run miles and miles (sometimes I switch to kilometers). Lastly, I write.

Go Ask Your Father: Tetanus, Climate, Probiotics, and Poop

My Orioles are just 49.5 games back from first place. I’ve seen better games from little leaguers. I got a new ball glove for my birthday and I’m tempted to try out. I think they need my help. in 1911 they lost 111 games that season. With just 37 more losses, they can tie that record. There are 43 games left so don’t count them out yet.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, it’s hot and we have a friend with a pool before we leave for Crash’s ball game that is over an hour away. Happy Tuesday (or here, aka Garbage Day) everyone!

1. What is a tetanus shot for?

It’s for the wound you’re about receive from swinging around that piece of wood that has two nails rustier than the Oriole’s bats (they’re currently 49 games back). This where the can of worms was opened. Does it hurt? How much does it hurt? What’s tetanus? My goal is to always answer their questions has honestly, simply as possible, and sufficiently enough to not raise more questions. I failed miserably here. Tetanus is caused by bacteria found in dirt and animal poop. This bacteria forms spores that are highly immune to heat and drugs. They are the Jason Borne of the bacteria world. Tetanus causes painful muscles contractions, often in the jaw and neck. Imagine labor contractions in your face. No thanks. I’ll pass. And there’s no cure for it. You may need to be put on life support until the disease runs its course. Lesson? Keep your tetanus vaccine up to date.

2. What is climate?

It’s that thing a certain president and his following of “deniers” don’t believe in. Though, to be fair they don’t believe that it’s changing. Canada is known for it’s cold weather. However, for the past six weeks we’ve had little rain and temperatures in the 90’s. For two weeks the temps were near or over 100F! Soon there will be palm trees and coconuts in Nova Scotia. Anyway, climate is different from weather in that weather is the day to day forecast while climate is over a longer period of time. Neil DeGrass Tyson has a great two minute explanation here. As the climate changes, so does the weather. There’s so much that can be effected and none of it is particularly good. Colder temperatures in winter mean less snow which means less ground water. Warmer temperatures mean more sickness. It could mean longer droughts. Worse floods. Stronger hurricanes. Melting ice caps and warmer oceans. Anyone who has had to flush a pet fish knows how sensitive fish can be to water temperature change.

3. What are probiotics?

They are biotics that get paid for what they do. They are pros. Like the NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, NBA, and teachers. In the world of good guys and bad guys, probiotics are the superheroes. Captain America: Civil War was really about the microorganisms in our guts duking it out with the E. coli. These healthy, live bacteria keep our immune system strong and our digestive tract clean. In our time of antibiotics and antibacterial soaps and lotions, we also need to remember that we’re killing the good guys too. Imagine the Avengers fighting Thanos then Superman and Batman swoop in and just kill everyone.

4. Why’s my poop green.

Yellow, let it mellow. Brown flush it down. But what if it’s green? When you are summoned to the bathroom by a seven year old (or younger) it could be for any number of reason. This time it was see the color of poop. I didn’t take a picture, but believe me when I tell you it was the color of Crayola’s meadow green. This happened to us once before when we ate cookies made by Crayola. They came out the same color they went in. Anyway, Bang’s poop wasn’t green from eating too many leafy greens, I can promise you that. It was also wasn’t caused by anal fissures. So it must have just been a hiccup in his digestive tract somewhere. The most likely culprit is that his intestines moved the food along too quickly resulting in the bile pigment not being broken down in the stool to its normal brown color. Either way, it was nothing to lose our shit over so we just laughed and flushed it down.

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Questions I Asked My Kids: The Rorschach Edition

Here’s something a little different. The Rorschach test. Administered to my two kids. Before you scroll down to their answers, take a look at them yourself first. See what you can see then compare it to what they saw. Then after you read their perspectives, see if you can see what they saw.

And when you’re done looking at these inkblots, check out my pictures on Instagram. (Follow me for completely-made-up-imaginary bonus points)

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Crash: I see a castle with windows. I also see a three eyed monster eating an apple.

Bang: It looks like a tank with dots all over it. It also looks like a big scorpion monster.

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Crash: I see what looks like two dog heads with a butterfly or some sort of bug in the middle

Bang: It looks like a monster with four eyes.

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Crash: It looks like a pirate ship. Or a face with a Ninja Turtle mask. I also see a super tall Batman that has a mask that’s way to big for his face.

Bang: It looks like a pirate ship. Or a space ship shooting missiles.

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Crash: I see five faces. And what looks like an animal of some sort. Like a horse.

Bang: It looks like two goldfish swimming away from a monster that shot cannonballs.

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Crash: I looks like a giant with a boomerang in each hand and he’s sitting on a stool.

Bang: Looks like a transformer that transforms into an 18 wheeler that has rockets to make it fly and fire coming out of it.

Some Stuff I Learned Coaching Baseball

This is my second year coaching nine to eleven year olds in the American pastime known as baseball. I learned so much last year. I’m not a rookie any more, but I’m still learning. They seem to be bigger lessons now. Deeper. And they apply to life, not just baseball. It’s weird like that.

These kids, boys and girls alike, are on the field because they want to play, because they’re looking to be a part of team, to have fun, and learn the game. They’re not competing for multimillion dollar contracts. They’re not competing for a first round draft pick. They’re not even competing for a golden glove. They want to hit the ball, run the bases, and perhaps a few of them are looking to get dirty sliding into home. Or second. Or first, even.

Give each of them their chance

Once you take winning and losing off the table, when it’s no longer an option, then the field is wide open. That kid who keeps asking to pitch, but has trouble throwing hard enough to get the ball all the way to the catcher? Give them a chance. At least then they’ll know there are 8 other positions they can try. That kid who has never played baseball before asks repeatedly to be the catcher? Let them armor up and try catching. So what if they make a better goalie than catcher, at least now they know it’s not as easy as it looks. And outfield sucks. The ball is either never hit out there or when it is, you have run to go get it. UGH! Most worstest position, ever!

It’s not always to go your way

Sometimes the umpire does a phenomenal job and sometimes you’re pretty sure Stevie Ray Wonder could have done a better job. Part of our job as coach is teach respect for the other team and for the umpires, so we say nothing. That pitch was at eye level but called a strike? So be it. Just be ready to swing at it next time. You got called out when you were safe? I’m sorry, but we don’t have instant replay. We’ll get ’em next time. This is where we learn “it is what it is”. Arguing is disrespectful. We can’t change the umpires, but we can change our attitude.

It’s not always fair

The kids just want to play ball. So when we showed up to a game with 12 players and the other team had just 6 we didn’t want to cancel. The eighteen kids who showed up would have been disappointed and no one would have gained any experience from that. So we asked if anyone would be willing to play for the other team (they were a team from our town so most of our team knew the other team). Three were willing and that made it nine versus nine. Fair. Then the other team won. With our players! Can you say frustrating? I can. The kids had fun, though. Isn’t that what counts? UGH… I guess so…

Even a rookie can surprise you

Our team this evening was comprised of nine players. Six of them were first year players. Several of them made great plays in the field to get us some outs. They were all swinging the bat to get hits. One nearly hit a homerun (he was tagged out at home). Just because they’re the underdog, just because they’re not expected to perform well, doesn’t mean they’ll live down to that expectation. With just the right piece of advice, or just the right timing, or just the right attitude, they can make the smallest hits into the biggest deals. When given the chance, they can end a losing-by-15 game with laughter.

While the kids are learning about baseball, us coaches are learning about life. Sometimes it’s all home runs. Sometimes it’s nothing but strike outs. Usually, it’s a little of both. We just hope for more home runs and fewer strike outs. We give it our best swing, our best throw, and make the best of it.

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Life

Life goes on…

Whether I’m writing or not
whether I’m running or not
whether my Orioles are winning or not (and they’re mostly not)
whether it’s hotter than nine hells or not (and it is)

Thank you Nike+ for informing me that I haven’t run for 127 days. Thank you Facebook for letting me know that my readers haven’t heard from me “for a while”.

Since I’ve been away from writing we’ve played some baseball games. We won three of them. We took a three night trip to PEI to spend some time away with DW’s brother and their 4 kids. Crash and Bang love playing with their cousins and were sad to leave. It’s been hotter than nine Hells here in Canadaland. The heat index has been at least 35 C. That’s 95 F. That’s 308 Kelvin. For us, that’s hotter than a toddler who was just handed the wrong color cup.

The kids are still being kids. The parents are still being parents (most of the time) (we’re off the clock after Satan’s Spawns are asleep). I have considered quitting this blogging gig. I haven’t posted since Crash’s Birthday a month ago. I haven’t written a word until right now, actually. I’m totally amazed y’all are still here. Not only have I not lost any readers, but I’ve gained a few! If you’re one the new ones, thanks for your faith in me that I’d come back. If you’re one of the old ones, you understand.

Life goes on, Obladi, Oblada,
how the life  goes on…

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A Heart, A Flower, and 7 Swallows

Today was full of coincidences. It has been difficult, as I age, to deny that things don’t happen for a reason. Sometimes things happen that seem completely unrelated only to have them come full circle and suddenly connections are made, dots are connected, and we see the whole picture.

The first dot

Eleven years ago today our oldest son was just 5 days old. He was born with a congenital heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries. In normal people words it means his aorta and pulmonary artery were switched. At 5 days old he was stable enough to undergo open heart surgery and Crash got his second go at this crazy little thing called life. He got the telltale “zipper” as a keepsake. We almost celebrate today like it’s his second birthday.

The second dot

When DW’s father was in the hospital there was a hibiscus plant in the sunroom across the hall from him. When he was taken in to the hospital the plant had one giant, red bloom on it. Being February, it was odd that it had bloomed. Rarely do they bloom in the winter. On his second day the bloom had withered and hung sadly from its stem. That night the bloom had fallen and DW’s dad quietly passed away in his sleep.

The third dot

A friend of ours makes and sells bird houses. When we found out he was making houses for swallows we knew we had to buy one from him. Two days later we had two swallows sign a lease and move in. We saw them come and go frequently, mostly during breakfast and supper times. We love watching them. They’re aerial acrobats while they’re chasing bugs to eat and salvaging nesting material. The pair of them flitted around, the female would build their nest while the male would sit on the wire above and watch for danger. They made a good pair. Until today. Today they were no longer a pair. I counted seven swallows on the line above their home.

The whole picture

This morning while DW was updating her Facebook status to share our joy of the eleventh anniversary of Crash’s heart surgery, I went out to the front porch to shake the beach out of our front door rug. That’s when I noticed that one of her hibiscus plants had a single, orange bloom and it was wide open, gulping the morning sunshine. Here, on the 11th anniversary of our son’s second chance was sign from DW’s dad. Then, to see five fledging sparrows flying for what could be the first time, it is many coincidences that happened for a reason. Life.

Sunday Share: Week 26

We’ve crossed the summer equinox here in the North. The days are long. Though here in Canadaland, they aren’t quite warm yet. Some days are, mind you. It just depends on how you define “warm”. It was 18 C today. For us, that’s warm. If you live in Lebanon, you’ll need your winter coat. My O’s still suck, but I wouldn’t be a true fan if I only rooted in the good times. And I made mozzarella pepperoni stuffed chicken this evening that was totally delicious. You should check out my instagram to see it. You can follow me there, too.

superishdad SUPERishDAD tells about a meal before and after having a child. If you’re a parent you’ll totally relate. If you’re not a parent, enjoy your ignorance.

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presentThe Lupie Momma writes about the etiquette I wonder about twice a year- that gift bag for the kid who came to your kid’s birthday party.

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busWatching our kids grow through the school can be rewarding. Even more so when your kid has ADHD. We do what we have to do to help them have a successful year.

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treeSnoozing on the Sofa tells a gripping tale of Paul Bunyan, George Washington, and a good woman…

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wonderoakJess at Wonderoak illustrates how she is learning to parent while parenting. Sometimes you just don’t need to rush. Sometimes waiting is all that’s required to survive, especially with a strong willed child.

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Questions I Asked My Kids

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See more photos on my Twitter

This may be the longest day in the northern hemisphere, but this is the shortest list of questions to date.

We’ve been busy. Today DW and I chaperoned a field trip of 45 5th graders to The highland Village. It’s a living museum representing about 150 years of Scottish history, covering the time just before they moved to Cape Breton Island to the Mid 1900’s. It was great to talk to people in character, ask questions and see just how much life changed for them over that time. From cooking over an open fire in the middle of their dirt floor stone hut to a cast iron wood stove that closely resembles today’s stoves. The kids were interested and were asking all kinds of questions.

My favorite question was asked of a character in the stone hut who represented a time around 1800 in the Highlands of Scotland. “Do you know what Fortnite is?” Without missing a beat the character, a lady, responded with, “It’s a measure of time, 2 weeks.” It was great to see them stay in character.

1. What are three things you want to do this summer?
Crash: Make YouTube videos, visit cousins, and have my birthday
Bang: Go to the beach, play with the sprinkler on the trampoline, and sleep

2. What’s something to do this summer that we’ve never done before?
Crash: Play the FortNite laser tag
Bang: Fly on a plane

3. What would be the funniest gift to give Crash for his birthday?
Crash: Toilet paper and pile of poo
Bang: Poop in a bag and put it in a present box!

4. We are going to start a new country, what should we name it?
Crash: Rhymania
Bang: Afflick

5. What would be the first law we make in our new country?
Crash: Technology must be used at all times
Bang: You’re only allowed to speak with a British accent.

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The Nite of Forts

Oft referred to as “Fork Knife” by the unknowing or by anyone who wants to be a comedian, Fortnite has finally entered our house. Once upon a time I was writing about Minecraft as it consumed a certain then eight year old’s life. That game is a thing of the past now. Minecraft is no longer even mentioned, let alone played. Fortnite is the new addiction and I have two conflicting thoughts about it.

I grew up with video games. Granted, I started with Atari’s Space Invaders until I graduated to Nintendo’s Tetris, Mega Man, and Blaster Master. I didn’t have these first or third person shooter games growing up. I had Mario jumping on Goombas. I had Contra. And if you just thought up up down down left right left right B A select start to get infinite lives, you had Contra, too. It wasn’t real. It didn’t look real. There was nothing about my video games as a kid that made my parents go “Hmmm… is this okay?” I didn’t play these shooter games until I got to university after the invention of internet. Back when you had to use your telephone line. I was mature enough to know it was game.

Fortnight is a game of 100 people with the winner being the last person or team standing. It is third person game, meaning your point of view hovers just above and behind the character you are controlling. It is close to being realistic. One of the first times I played this game (last week) my character was shot and wounded to the point that I wasn’t (in the words of The Princess Bride) all the way dead. I was forced to crawl around hoping someone would revive me. Instead of finding my own team, the enemy found me first and I had the distinct privilege of watching the enemy character stand over my character and proceed to finish me off with his shotgun. On the plus side, there is no blood. A drone appears and teleports your expired character out of the game. I know there are 10 year olds around the world playing this, but is this the kind of game I want my 10 year old playing?

On the flip side, it’s just a video game. Even I know art imitates life. My kid certainly isn’t going to suddenly think that life is Fortnite and go about shooting people. He won’t become a violent psychopath playing Fortnite. I can’t blame Fortnite for violent behavior any more than I can blame heavy metal music. There’s no blood and it’s not like this game is hyper real some other first player shooter games I’ve seen. There is building it, well. You need to build “forts” for safety. It can as simple or as elaborate as you want or as time allows. Also, a lot his friends are playing it. Since this game has the ability to connect people through microphones so they may chat. Friends can play together and talk together without being in the same house. It will be his way of fitting in. And isn’t that what we all want, just to belong?

Has Fork Knife Fortnite caught on at your house, yet? What’s your opinion?

           

Happy Birthday Buddy…

Dear Bang,

Since the day you were born, you’ve been quite a character. Full of personality. Full of quirks that made you unique. Today, exactly seven years later, that still holds true. You have a heart as big as the world and a temper to match. You can be as prickly as porcupine but also as snuggly as puppy. You have the temper of bull but also the kindness of Mother Theresa herself. You can be saucy, little brat, but also the most loving child a parent could ask for. You make your parents feel like we’ve done this parenting thing perfectly, but also make us feel like complete failures.

You’re kindness overshadows all. To this day, we still don’t know why you decided you wanted to sing in the church choir. Our only guess is that you absolutely adore the little, “old” ladies. They look forward to Sunday mornings as much as you do. I remember one morning when I told you to go up and get dressed and you growled at me like a rabid rhino ready to charge at me because you didn’t want to go to school. I reminded you we were going to church and you said “Oh” and happily got dressed. Today, not only did the church choir sing you happy birthday, but the whole congregation sang. I don’t know too many seven year olds who have happy birthday sung to them by the whole church. You’ve unknowingly made many people happy.

You hold doors for people just because you want to show them a bit of kindness. You could be sitting with your parents at Tim Hortons, but you’d rather stand at the door and open it when people enter or leave. You do it out of kindness. One day, someone gave you a tip, their loose change from their most recent purchase. It couldn’t have been more than a quarter. They might as well have given you a million bucks. Sometimes they would give you their free donut or free coffee they had just won from Roll Up the Rim to Win cups. Still, you hold doors because you want to, not because you are looking for tips. Even after the kindness of the lady who gave you ten dollars because she was traveling and had an armful of luggage.

At the grocery store you skip ahead in line so you can help bag the groceries of the person in front of us. At first I was afraid they would think you were stealing their food. Those fear were dashed quickly, when again, you discovered you could get tipped for helping. Everyone pays you with a thank you. The special ones give you a tip. Like the doors, you don’t do for the money. But it sure is nice.

You save money like Scrooge McDuck. When given ten dollars to spend at Toys R Us, your brother couldn’t get their fast enough. When we finally arrived, you asked, “Do I have to spend it? Can I save it?” don’t know too many kids you can take to a toy store and they don’t want to buy anything. You’ve got your eyes set on a puppy. So it’s only a matter of time now, buddy.

You frustrate us with your sauciness. You amaze us with your constant questions. You exhaust us with your desire to always to be moving. Come the end of the day, you make us feel loved and make us wonder why we ever thought we were “parenting” you wrong. Come morning, though, we’ll wonder all anew.

Love ya buddy,

Mom and Dad

Go Ask Your Father: Circles, Diamonds, Electricity, and Boobs

Today we host a birthday party. I love parties. Mostly because I love playing with all the kids. However, there’s one aspect of the party I don’t quite understand. The treat bag at the end. Who invented this nonsense? At no other party do we give our guests a loot bag afterwards. I understand it’s kind of a thank you for coming to my birthday party and bringing a present. However, we just provided entertainment, food, drinks, and cake. We provide a treat bag at the end, but, in your opinion, is it necessary?

What’s the difference between a circle and an ellipse?

First, do you know how farmers make circular fields so perfect? They use a protractor! To truly understand the difference between these two flat, round shapes it helps to understand how they’re made. To make a circle, you need one center point and a line around it that is the same distance away from that point all the way around. To make an ellipse, you need two points, neither of which is in the center. They’re called foci. Every point along the line of a circle is the same distance from the center as every other point. However, in an ellipse, every point on the line is the same distance as the sum of the distances to the foci. And if you say foci enough it sounds like you forgot how to swear properly.

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What’s the difference between a rhombus and diamond?

What girl wants a 2 carat rhombus engagement ring? Bang had been studying shapes in class. Hence the reason for the shape questions today.  It’s how you tell a vet from a noob. In elementary school, to keep things simple, kids call everything that’s not a square or rectangle a diamond. If it has straight sides, whether they’re all the same length or not, and no right angles (all left angles, haha) it must be a diamond. A rhombus is a special kind of parallelogram (shape with opposite sides that are parallel). A rhombus has all sides the same length like a square, but none of its angles are 90 degrees. Its opposite angles are equal though. Also, if you draw lines connecting its opposite angles, they will form a right angle in the center. Here is a really neat website where you can play with a rhombus. Diamond, however, is more of a vague term. The sides of a diamond don’t have to be parallel or equal, similar to a kite. It just needs to not have right angles or form right angles when a line is drawn between opposite corners. Both a rhombus and a diamond know that it’s hip to be square.

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How does a magnet go through a wire to make electricity?

I’m sorry. I can’t look at that GIF without giggling like 7th grader. If you know anything about electrons you’ll know they typically move randomly, much like the AD/HD kid with no meds. I know this, because I have one. However, in magnets, they don’t move randomly, they all move the same direction. Sort of, anyway. The north end electrons spin one direction and the south end spins the other. This is why opposite poles attract. Anyway, when a magnet moves through a coil of wire it drags the electrons in the wire with it. We all know when electrons flow we get electricity. If you use an ammeter (like in that funny GIF) you can see which direction the electricity is flowing. Also, you can see why it’s called an alternating current.

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 Do your boobs stay off forever?

If you’re caught up on the previous episodes of Go Ask Your Father, you’ll know that DW went for a mammogram. It has since come back clear. However, at the time of the appointment a certain 6 year old (turning 7 tomorrow) was full of questions. First it was  “What’s a mammogram?” Last week featured “What if they find cancer?”. The answer to that was double mastectomy, which then had to be explained that essentially means she’ll have her boobs cut off. Which leads us to this week’s question. Yes, they will stay off forever. There’s no boob transplant. There’s no removing the cancer and putting them back on. Ain’t no way she’s going to be breast feeding with them any more. However, we have come across some fun alternatives ranging from implants to tattoos. We’d miss them, of course, but we’d rather have a boobless mom than the alternative.

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