J is for… #atozchallenge

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Who doesn’t love a good dad joke? Or bad one? The term “dad joke” has become synonymous with any joke so bad, so lame, the best reaction you can hope for is an eye roll. Most them are just punny.

I was hoping my 10 jokes would make people laugh, but no pun in ten did.

You need a sense of humor if you’re going to be a parent. How else will you survive your kids? Between the things kids do and the things they say, we’ve got enough ammo to keep us laughing for years to come. So they got their head stuck in a concrete block when they were two. So they covered their little brother with the entire jar of peanut butter. So they loudly compare your anatomy to that of a model in the Body Worlds museum. I an guarantee Parenthood will be full of more laughter than your bladder can hold.

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Me: Doctor, you’ve got to help me. I’m addicted to Twitter.
Doctor: I don’t follow you.

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Q: When does a joke become a dad joke?
A: When the punch line becomes apparent.

The mother of three notoriously unruly youngsters was asked whether or not she’d have children if she had to do over again.
“Sure,” she replied, “but not the same ones.”

The dinner I was cooking for my family was going to be a surprise but the fire trucks ruined it.

Please go play with your brother. That’s basically the reason we had him.

I’ll clean my house when the last kid has moved out.

Q: What part of your family can you see through?
A: A transparent.

Have a good parenting pun/joke? I’d love to hear it! Happy hump day!

For more laughs you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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I is for…

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It’s easy to be indecisive. Rarely do I know what’s for supper until I start making it. Except tonight. Tonight we’re having pork chops, cauliflower (maybe the cheesy fried kind), green beans, mashed potatoes, corn and carrots. Rarely do I know what I’m going to write about until I start writing. I don’t know how long I stared at a white screen with the blinking cursor mocking me.

One thing we’re rarely indecisive about is raising our kids. We know how we’re going to do it because we know what kind of adults we want hope our children grow to be. We know what kind of parents we’ll be. Parenting comes in as many flavors as Ben and Jerry. Whether we’re goofy or serious or creative or active or hands off, there are different styles for everyone. We all incorporate varying degrees of different traits.

Of course, our children are born with their own personalities. So the indecisiveness in parenting is born in the form of the question,

Am I doing the right thing?

How do we know what the “right thing” is? Like Soren Kierkegaard is quoted as saying,

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

The only thing we know for certain is what we should have done. How can we possibly know the discipline we use, the motivator we employ, even the tone of voice and attitude we adopt will be the right one? When our kids are “bad” they need to face the consequences. However, those consequence are dictated by us, the parents. The punishment needs to fit the crime. Sometimes their actions have their own consequences. This morning, for example, Crash didn’t want to pack his lunch. I let him know that I wasn’t doing it for him and if he wanted lunch it was his responsibility. He growled and moaned and dragged his feet. I was fully prepared to let him go hungry and allow him to understand why he needed to pack his lunch. He wouldn’t have been punished for not making his lunch. I think going hungry would have been his own consequence.

Would have been the right thing to do? Would it have been too harsh? I pack the 6 year old’s lunch. Should I pack the 10 year old’s too? When should they become responsible? Not just about packing lunch, but for everything in life? Does becoming responsible mean they’re more adult than kid? But if they’re not responsible kids how can they become responsible adults? Do any of these questions have just one right answer?

The best we can do is do what is best for our children. Only we know that answer because we know our kids best. We live with them, after all. They are probably more like us than we care to admit. We should know what is best for them. However, sometimes we can be as indecisive as a teen trying to get dressed for school. We doubt ourselves wondering if we are doing the right thing. Should we medicate our ADHD child? Should we register our kids in French or English classes in school? How much screen time is okay? How long do they need to drive me crazy before I sell them on the black market?

Being indecisive is okay, though. It means you have options and options are good. All you have to do is pick one. Or pick the other.

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Becoming Dad

I always knew I was going to be a dad some day. I don’t know when exactly I determined that, though. It probably wasn’t until my university days that I entertained that thought. Before that I was just a free spirit. A happy wanderer. A lone wolf looking for a pack.

Because of the parents I had, I thought I knew what kind of dad I would be. I would be the dad who played, the dad who disciplined, the dad who got shit done. It probably wouldn’t get done in a timely manner, mind you, but it would get done.

I was going to parent like my parents did. I would allow my kids to think they were acting on their own when in reality I would be watching from a distance. I wasn’t going to be a helicopter or snow plow, or tiger mom dad. I wasn’t going to be free-range, mind you, but somewhere in the middle. I was going to be involved, too. I wanted to be there to watch them succeed, fail, or just plain try.

I was glad I was a teacher before I became a dad. I learned to discipline other people’s kids before I had to discipline my own. Not that it mattered because discipline comes in as many flavors as there are kids. There is much debate between which consequences work best. Seriously, there is no one size fits all. But that’s for another post, entirely.

Of all the things I was going to be as a dad, the one I nailed is being involved. Not in a helicopter way. I’m just there. When they’re getting ready for school in the morning or ready for bed in the evening I’m there prodding them along. When they’re playing a sport, I’m there to watch. When they have a school performance, I’m there to see them. When there are parent/teacher nights, I go. DW is with me all the way. Or I’m with her all way.

We’re in this gig called parenting together.

However, when I imagined myself being a dad before I was dad, back when I was a clueless twenty something, I didn’t imagine myself being quite as involved as I actually am today. My kids would love school because their parents are teachers. My kids would love helping out around the house because we would include them in such chores from an early age. My kids would be polite, respectful, hard working, smart, and a plethora of spectacular superlatives. Whenever I imagined what my kids would be like, I think God giggled a little bit.

I didn’t imagine I’d have a kid having ADD and needing constant supervision because he’d be a task avoider. He knows what he needs to do, he just doesn’t do it. I didn’t imagine my kid throwing a temper tantrum the size of a Philadelphia Superbowl riot. How dare I make a pancake without chocolate chips? We never imagine that stuff before we become parents. They don’t teach you that stuff in school. They don’t write about that stuff in books, or at least not in the books I read.

What To Expect When You Don’t Expect Your Kid To Be Different From What You Expect.

I learned to be a dad from my Dad. I learned to be a parent from my parents. They set a pretty good example, too. They had awesome kids though, so they had it “easy”. I wish I had it as easy as my parents did. Perhaps I do because I really don’t know their struggles as parents back then because I was just a kid. You can’t imagine #ParentingStruggles when you are a Terrible Two or a Threenager or even a Teenager, for that matter.

The Fresh Prince knew what he was saying when he said “Parents just don’t understand”. Well, neither do kids.

So, to my parents, I want to say thank you for teaching me to parent by example. To my kids, thank you for testing my parenting ability. One day, you two will understand why your mother and I do what we do.

Kids

Lucy At Home

How To Tell If You’re A Parent

 You might be a parent if…

you’ve argued about socks
you had to explain the reason for washing hands after pooping
you get no sleep
you get sleep, but still wake up tired because you’re eternally sleepy
you’ve been peed, pooped, puked, or bled on
you have to be in three different places all at the same time
you could really use a free maid
you could really use a free cook and masseuse, too
you have answered the question “why” so many times you found a parallel universe
you can answer any question sufficiently enough to satisfy their curiosity without raising more questions
You thought you understood parenthood perfectly before you were a parent but now that you’re a parent you realize you know nothing about parenthood.

You might be a parent if you’ve ever asked…

Where are your pants?
Why are you naked?
Where’s your other sock?
What is all over the bathroom floor?
How did you get water on the ceiling?
Why are you sitting on your brother’s head?
Why did you put three DVDs into the DVD player?
Why did you think eating the whole thing was a good idea?
Who peed on the toilet seat?
What are you doing up at this hour of the morning?
Why are writing on the walls?
Did you ask your father/mother, yet?
Didn’t I answer that question already?
Why are you peeing outside when we have a perfectly good bathroom inside?
How many times do I need to tell you ___(Fill In The Blank)__?

You might be a parent if you’ve ever experienced a temper tantrum…

because their cup is the wrong color
because a sandwich was cut improperly
over a hotdog that has lines (or doesn’t have lines) on it
over a broken crayon
because someone looked at them
because it’s bedtime or because it’s bedtime!
because they have to brush their teeth
because you didn’t read the book “right”
because you didn’t pick the right shopping cart
because you cut their cheese into the wrong shape
because you didn’t put enough chocolate chips in the pancake
their food is too hot
their food is too cold
their food is too something else…

Come to think of it, you could easily replace “You might be a parent if” with “You might be tending to a drunk if” The similarities are uncanny.

Raising children is like caring for someone too drunk to know that the potato bin is not a toilet.

You know you’re a parent if…

your fridge and walls are decorated with the art of a child
listening to your kids fall asleep is among your favorite sounds
you secretly enjoy when your kids are sick because it means more snuggles
you receive little doses of love when you least expect it and it means all the world
you feel the hand of your child in yours and think all is right with the world
you stop what you’re doing to answer a pretend phone call
listen intently, like you really do care about Minecraft (or whatever else you couldn’t care less about but have to pretend you love so as not to offend)
at the end of the day, all the frustrations, all the arguments, and questions, and exausting coversation, all that really matter are the little hearts that love you more than anything in the whole wide world… all the way to Jupiter and back.

For more fun, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

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Lucy At Home

Passing the Test

couple-holding-hands-walking-tumblr-5Ah Dad has a Test for boys to pass if they intend to date his daughters. After reading his list (and his reasoning) I feel obligated to write my own. Except, since I have two boys, I figured there were two ways to take this. This first way will correspond with Ah Dad’s rules. However, the rules will pertain to Crash and Bang. Then perhaps, I will succeed in raising two boys who can pass the test to date his Princess. With some planning, a hell of a lot of instruction, guidance, and discipline, my kids won’t grow up to be a-holes.

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How I Dad

They say being a parent is the hardest job you’ll ever have. It’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year every year. There’s no instruction manual. The training is done on the job. I now consider myself an expert. But only because I have 1) a degree in early childhood education and 2) 2 kids of my own. Therefore, I’m only an expert for a couple more years, then I’ll be swimming in uncharted waters. But here’s what I’ve learned so far…

1) Make ordinary things, extraordinary -like pancakes. Kids love silly shaped pancakes. We have pancake molds but they’re a pain in the arse because they’re small and the batter is forever sticking to them – even when I use a whole can of NON-STICK cooking spray on them. Stick men, snow men, superman symbol and various letters are equally amusing. I’ve recently learned how to make a design within a normal, round pancake. Simply make the design on your heated surface, let it brown for a few seconds then cover it with a normally rounded pancake. The kids think it’s magic. Significant others will be equally amused.

2) Imagination is amazing. Whether you’re playing a game, writing a story, reading a story, or just being goofy imagination goes a long, long way. What if that chutes and ladders game was for real?! How much work would that be to land on square 28 and have to climb nearly to top. How much fun would it be to land on #87 and get to slide all the way down? Something like that new water slide “verrückt“? We roll a mixed up Rubix Cube across the floor and get the letter “G” which means we have to hop on one foot 4 times. Completely made up. Completely fun.

3) Outside is endless. Year round. Mud pies, bugs, worms, puddles, tree climbing, water hose, trampoline, bike rides, swimming, running, running, and running while screaming all summer long. Snowmen and snowwomen and and snowfamilies, snow angels, snowball fights, igloos, zigzag paths shoveled to the bus stop, sledding in the winter. Outside is where the active games get played. Refer back to number 2. Kick a ball, run to that tree and back before I go get that kicked ball and beat you back to where you started. That game’s called Oreo*. I don’t know why. Hit a ball I throw to you, then dribble a soccer ball to a wall, kick the ball off the wall and return before I get back with the ball you hit. That one’s called Fubar*. Mostly because we heard that word in a movie and while we were allowed to say “fubar” we weren’t allowed to say what it meant. (I’m 37 now. I can say it now. Just not to my kids) (or anyone elses kids for that matter). (Oreo and Fubar were games a friend and I made up when we were kids. They will be taught to my own kids). One day we even had a sock and shoe fight when we were locked out of the house after school. I had a stick and I used it pick up their socks and shoes and launched them at the kids. There’s also gardening digging for worms.

4) Teamwork. There’s nothing I can do that we can do better.

5) Lastly, be perfect in your imperfections. I only have the slightest clue what I’m doing. I mostly make it up as I go along. Parenting is part trial and error, part what your parents did with you, and part experiment. Take potty training, for example. Figuring out what will motivate them to use the toilet instead of their underwear (or the floor or the door) is tricky. Chocolate is good. But some prefer gummies. Others prefer non-food items like stickers. And sometimes you just need to shout “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL ” like a spanish futbol announcer. Or you just need to wait until they’re fully ready. You can lead a toddler to the toilet but you can’t make them pee in it.