Pull My Finger: A Guide To Parenting

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Yesterday my son made me incredibly angry. This happens on most days that end in a y but yesterday was a little bit different. Normally my son makes me angry by hitting or not listening or playing with something he’s not supposed to or being mean to his sister. But yesterday was a little but different because yesterday my son farted on me. Let me paint you a picture.

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It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To

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scarryEarlier today I was reading a story from my son’s current favorite book, Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever.  It’s a book that I both love and hate. It has some very cool stories, interspersed with weird short little one-page pictures of houses. It’s basically what I can imagine ADD would be like if ADD were a book. I was however, brought to tears but one particular story and I’m here to talk about two things. The first, is the touching story that I read and the second is crying.

I am a crier. I cry. Movies. Book. Songs. Sporting events. Basically, anything that generates any sort of emotion can and often will cause me to cry. Things I’ve cried about this week include the passing of Doug Flutie’s parents, this story, and episode of 24 and a conversation that I had with my son. Basically, anything can make me cry. While I was growing up, I was told over and over again that I shouldn’t cry and that I was a boy and that boys don’t cry and that if I want to be a man I shouldn’t cry. Crying is a sign of weakness and boys aren’t weak. Boys are tough and strong. My dad taught me that if you want to be tough, you don’t cry. Oh, and I should mention that my dad is kind of a prick. My dad taught me a lot about being a father by doing all the things that I try my hardest not to.

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Damn You Caillou: My Guide To Children’s TV

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jerkI watch more children’s television than I’d care to admit. I remember before Vader being born, I thought that we’d have that kid who didn’t like TV and instead built small homes in our backyard out of twigs. We’d have that kid who said, “no, I have no interest in TV, I’m writing my memoirs.” It turns out that, as a general rule, kids like TV. And when your darling son wakes up at 5:23am and you can either “watch” Netflix while sleeping on the couch or try to entertain your child silently while your wife and baby sleep, it’s time to turn on Diego. But there is some absolute garbage in children’s programming so I thought I’d take a minute to tell you about the shows “we” love, the shows “we” hate and why.

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Vader’s First Day of (Pre)School

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Jedi SchoolThis week Vader began his 2nd year at preschool. While I am at home full time and am “happy” to have him all the time, we decided that in order to let me grow my business, give some 1-1 time for Chewy and get him acclimated to school life, preschool was in order. We found an AMAZING preschool in Halifax (DM for details). His transition to preschool was good, but not great. He had trouble listening sometimes, had trouble keeping his hands to himself and in general was a boy, which is a terrible catastrophe most days. This summer, he picked it up a notch.

We went on vacation to Calgary this summer. About halfway through our 10 day adventure, Vader made a startling discovery. WE really wanted to go to the Zoo, the science center, the Rockies. He realized that no matter how bad he acted, we were still going to go. This is not a good realization for a small person to make. It was a game changer. He immediately upped his tantrum game and basically challenged us to do something about it. As the summer went on, we had some truly awful days. We were terrified to send him back to school. They would obviously know what terrible parents we were given what a horrible child he was going to be.

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I Love You More Than Anything In The Whole World

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Vader can be an incredibly difficult person to be around. My son does the mot amazing things. He’s sweet. He asks people if they’re feeling better when they’ve been sick. He says he’s sorry. He loves to hug. He truly is an incredible little person. He’s also the dark lord of the Sith. Despite every amazing thing that he does, he literally drives me batty. Nutbar. Cuckoo. I’ve tried yelling, I’ve tried ignoring, I’ve held him, we’ve tried timeouts. Everything. Some things works here and there, sometimes for a few days, but when it comes down to it, nothing works for long…until recently. Like some sort of sociopathic care bear stare, I tried love. And it worked.

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The Reset Button

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DadsThe advice I am about to give you is only good for your first child. Once you add a second child to the equation, all bets are off. At that point it’s no longer about strategy and planning and activities. It’s about survival and sobbing and waiting. However, if you’re currently the owner of one small human or are planning on procuring a small human, preferably through honorable (or at least mostly honorable means), then let’s talk about the reset switch.

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I Require Water, Father

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WaterThe other day my Vader asked me if he could have a drink of water. Now, let’s start by setting the scene. I was in the kitchen, doing the dishes and feeding Chewy. Vader was in the living room, watching TV on the couch. His water bottle was directly in front of him and when I mean directly I mean that if he had had a sudden cramp in his hamstring and his leg had involuntarily shot forward, he would have booted his water bottle off the coffee table. In any case, I came into the room form the kitchen and was in the middle of asking him where his water bottle was when I used my eyes and located it. At that point I told him that a) yes he could have a drink and that b) his water bottle was right in front of him. I then returned to the kitchen where Chewy had (presumably) eaten an entire bowl of pasta and a kiwi because apparently her plan is to play offensive line for the Rams in her near future.

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I Stole My Son’s My Little Pony and Other Love Songs

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Pinky Pie-01I recently stole Pinkie Pie from Vader. For those struggling with the meaning or semantics of this phrase, let me expand. While on vacation in Calgary we found a small souvenir shop that we popped into in Canmore. It had a lot of those really tacky souvenirs that you’re like “who in their right mind would possibly buy this” but they also had some really interesting stuff. While poking around, Vader stumbled across the Holy Grail of small stuffies (ps I’m still not pleased that we’re all just calling them stuffies…they’re stuffed animals…but anyways). This bin featured, amongst others, Frozen and My Little Pony and after much deliberation, Vader chose Pinkie Pie.

This in itself was a real struggle because Vader actually wanted Twilight Sparkle. For those wondering why my 3.5 year old son has such discerning taste in My Little Pony dolls, he has watched a couple of movies on Netflix and while we’re disclosing things, I actually really enjoyed those movies. They’re a hell of a lot better than that whiny sack of garbage, Caillou. When we got outside, one of the people we were visiting/travelling with asked Vader “why he chose a girl’s toy” which of course didn’t sit very well with my wife or myself but after explaining to both Vader and our friend that people can just like whatever they want to like, we made it out of there.

So Vader decided, upon returning home to Halifax, that he wanted to start sleeping with Pinkie Pie. This brought the “stuffies in bed” count to a resounding 12 but we allowed it on the basis that we will allow virtually anything that might lead to an easy bedtime and a good night’s sleep. About a week in, Vader was becoming incredibly difficult to get to bed. He’d get up 10-20 times over the course of 45 minutes and evenings became unbearable. And so I made a decision.

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Monopoloy, Dodgeball and Zucchini – A Lesson in Bordedom

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Star Wars MonopoloyMonopoly is quite possibly my all time favourite board game. It is a game that I own multiple copies of and at one point in my life, was playing almost daily. Oh, also, I haven’t played it in years and I doubt I’ll pick it up anytime soon. Why? Because apparently anything worth doing is worth doing until we hate it, ourselves and everything around us. Here’s some background on my Monopoly experience. One of my best friends and I took geology in our last year of university. We had pretty easy schedules already but required a science with a lab because universities don’t know how to properly screen people for actual skills and aptitudes. Anyways, this combined with a government job that paid me a lot for working very little and a job as a doorman at a bar that didn’t really need a doorman meant I had a lot of free time on my hand. My best friend had an even easier schedule and so this meant that we got to hang out a lot. And play monopoly. Every day.

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Flying Through The Air With Miniature Humans

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FlyingI just spent 10 days in Calgary with Dr. Wife, Vader and Chewy. It was our first time flying with both kids and my first time flying with Chewy. I was asked by a couple of people if they had any advice for flying with kids and since 140 characters doesn’t cover “what the hell am I supposed to do with these tiny people once we’re airborne”, I thought this might be a good first post. It may end up being a good second post because I might use the first to introduce you to the family, but I digress. Flying with kids can be literally the worst moment in your life. Coming in for a landing has the same feeling as though you were on a flight where the masks dropped and they told you to “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.” The relief is unbelievable. But there are some simple things you can do to make the experience a little less like a root canal. Here goes.

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