What did you buy, Dada?
I can’t tell you.
Is it a surprise for me?
Is it for me for my birthday!?
What is it?
I can’t tell you, Tucker, or it wouldn’t be a surprise any more.
Is it a new car?
A new car?! I told you, I can’t tell you what it is. But do you really think I’d buy you your own car for your birthday?
No… but now I think I know what it is.
You do, huh?
Yes. It’s fish sticks.
Yes. IS it fish sticks?
No. No, it is not fish sticks.
But I’m getting closer, right?
Well… yes… I suppose fish sticks is closer than a new car.
Okay. Hmm… not fish sticks… is it… a TREE?
A… a tree? No, I did not get you a tree.
Is it… a sign?
A sign? What? Are… are you just naming things you see outside the window right now?
Well, it’s nothing you can see out the window.
I still think maybe it’s fish sticks.
In a couple of weeks I will be heading down to the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention, which this year is taking place the first weekend of October in the Washington, DC area and is put on by the National At-Home Dad Network.
I’m so thrilled to be able to go, finally.
I’m into my fourth (!!!) year now as a self-described “stay-at-home dad,” but have not been able to make the trip before now. Many thanks to my wife and in-laws who are going to make it possible.
You might think the idea of a convention for at-home dads sounds a little silly, or conversely you may wonder why you’ve never heard of such a thing because it sounds like such a great idea. Either way, everything I hear about the convention has been that it’s a life-changing sort of weekend as far as connecting with other dads, having great conversations about being the best dad you can be, and generally just refueling for this role where it can sometimes feel like we’re running on fumes.
We got a flat tire this past weekend, and had to kill some time at the tire repair shop as they worked on trying to fix it. Ultimately, they decided it was not repairable, and had to install a new tire.
Tucker wondered why that was, since the way to fix it seemed to clear to him: “Have the garbage can spray it with water, and then put some pants on it.”
Why didn’t I think of that?
This parenting thing can be pretty tough in a lot of ways.
Whether it’s the late nights and constant diaper changes of little ones, the day-to-day frustrations of trying to teach a toddler how to be a kind and respectful human being, or dealing with teenagers who simultaneously depend on you for everything but feel they need you for nothing. Parenting is tough.
But one of the toughest aspects, for me, has been how to be gracious with those who don’t stop to think about what they are saying when they comment on my being home with the boys.
In general I think I’m pretty good at it, by which I mean I look for a kind and non-confrontational way to answer a question or respond to a comment. Sometimes the best way is to smile and say nothing. Other times the right words come. And sometimes I stumble over my answer or say the wrong thing.
In my mind, I usually know what I would like to say, hoping that my snarky sarcasm would get the point across. But I don’t say it, because far too often snarky sarcasm looks suspiciously like being a jerk, which is sort of the opposite of being gracious.
To that end — and to get some of this off of my chest — here are some examples of what I would like to say, but don’t, in no particular order…
For months now people have been asking me what I think about NBC’s new show Guys With Kids.
The previews sure didn’t bode well. My delightful sweet-hearted grandmother-in-law saw a commercial for it, and seemed like she was ready to storm NBC studios just on principle, in support of the wonderful man (me!) taking care of her great-grandsons.
I definitely didn’t have high hopes, from what I saw. The show looked to be based mostly on the premise that a dude with a baby strapped to himself is inherently hilarious. I also had concerns about a show that is ostensibly about fatherhood but created by Jimmy Fallon — a funny guy, but also a guy who isn’t actually a dad — based entirely on a funny image he got in his mind one day of three guys at a bar watching the game who all turn around and are wearing babies. To top it off, the working title was reportedly DILFs, which sort of tells you all you need to know.
Anyhow, until I saw an episode, I was going to reserve judgement and give them the benefit of the doubt that, at the very least, the goal was to tap into the new parenting zeitgeist of involved dads, rather than to mock dads.
Well, the pilot premiered last night . . .
Trying something a little different, I made up a fancy-dancy illustrated version of this recipe.
Let me know what you think of this fun new format!
This is a deceptively easy but amazingly delicious take on chicken tacos, that I saw on Cook’s Country recently, and I think it’s going to go into our regular rotation of quick meal ideas.
My friend Amy Cheng is the exceptionally creative mother to some of the most adorable boys ever, Noah, Ollie, and the youngest, Simon.
This summer she and her husband Joe embarked on massive family project to fill their summer with fun activities from A to Z.
She’s been sharing photos on Facebook as she goes along (Amy is also a fabulous photographer — check out her work here) and it’s been amazing to watch the fun and creative things they have done.
Some days took on multiple themes (‘M’ including a swim meet and some delicious grilled meats for dinner, for example). Some days seem wonderfully serene (the photo below for ‘R for Read Day’ might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen not featuring my own kids) while others are simply ingenious (‘X is for X-Marks-the-Spot Day’ looks like it was the funnest day ever).
I got the chance to ask Amy a few questions about the project. But first, check out this summer of fun with the Cheng family!