Fatherly Stuff: March 2013

Mar 27, 2013

Funny Convo w/ My Kid (Boobie Exchange Program)

My wife says to me, "Kyle I need a check to pay for these girl scout cookies tomorrow."

My son, per his usual knack for interjecting in our conversations asks, "Mommy, how did you get them if you didn't pay for them? Did you trade them for your boobies?"

Seriously though, where does he come up with this stuff??

The Kid Show Bracket is Over (For Now)

One of the coolest things about blogging is the challenge of creating new ideas to engage my reader base. For the most part, the concepts that I have brought to you guys have been successful. However, as in baseball, it is also true in blogging that you aren't guaranteed a home run every time you step on the plate.

It is with this logic that I have made the decision to put an end to my Kid Show Bracket, effective immediately. I am doing this for a couple of reasons. First, there simply just was not as much interest in the bracket as I had anticipated and reader participation is key on having a successful tournament. Secondly, the winner of each match up was supposed to be decided via a polling system. Since Blogger only has polling capability on the sidebar of the site, I had to do some tricky HTML/Source coding to get into each post. Something must have went wrong because the program kept wiping away the count of the people that actually did vote (thanks to those people!). I still believe with the right moving pieces, the tournament could be successful in the future. But until then, I look forward to continue discovering fun and interesting ways to interact with you. Even if it doesn't always work out :-)

Mar 26, 2013

Funny Convo w/ my Kid

The other day my 3 year old asks;

"Daddy, what's for dinner?"

Me, attempting to be funny replied,

"We are having your favorite, boogers on a half shell"

He pauses for a moment, looks at me and says, "Gross daddy! You know I can't eat a shell"

That one had me and my wife laughing for days.

Bon appetite!

Does this remind you of anything? (Photo Credit)

Mar 25, 2013

Doc McStuffins vs Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Kid Show Tournament)

Here we go folks. Our kid show bracket is upon us!

In case you missed it, here is the intro

First up: In the Disney Jr Region. Doc McStuffins vs Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Photo Credit
DocMcStuffins- This show is about a little girl who aspires to become a doctor, like her mother. Unbeknown  to her family and friends, she has a magical ability to communicate with all toys and stuffed animals, who come to life. She uses this ability to diagnose, then fix the various ailments that the toys incur throughout the show. These "ailments"  almost always tie into a relateable health lesson for the audience (i.e. importance of staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, eating the right foods, etc). The show has also gotten critical acclaim for having a person of color as the protagonist, which is breaking some major cultural barriers.

Photo Credit

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse- Mickey Mouse, along with all of his friends invites the viewer to his magical clubhouse for a fun, learning adventure. Mickey and the rest of the crew are always breaking the 4th wall (talking directly to the audience), seeking their help in order to solve ago-appropriate problem utilizing basic skills, such as identifying shapes and counting through ten.  At the beginning of the show when the problem of the day is identified, Mikey has Toodles, a mouse shape robot download various items to assist them on their mission. When a road block is hit, the characters call upon Toodles and critical thinking is used to determine which item to use. Once the mission is complete, everyone goes back to the clubhouse for a dance party.
 Winner of the voting below will progress to the next round. Polls close at midnight!

Doc McStuffins vs Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Mar 24, 2013

Breakfast Art: A Re-creation and a Challange

Recently, I shared a cool picture on by Facebook page of whimsical breakfast art, courtesy of Designtaxi.com (Original article). The premise is simble; regular, everyday breakfast meals are transformed in very creative ways. Here are some examples directly from the site:

I thought it would be fun for my son and I to try and create some breakfast are of our own. We chose this picture:

Here is our rendition:
The only difference is, we used a grapefruit instead of an orange, our bubbles were made of strawberries instead of blueberries, our eye was made out of a chocolate chip and we used raspberries to make a kind of a zooming trail (it kind of looks like it's laying eggs, but I digress). Also, I had a ridiculously hard time trying to get the white underpeel off of the fruit. All in all, though it certainly wasn't perfect, we had alot of fun. Not to mention it was delicious. Or at least I think so: By the time I came into the dining room after cleaning our mess, all that was left was a dorsal fin.

So now the challenge to you guys: Think you can do better? I'd love to see you try! You can follow the template per the DesignTaxi website or if you are skilled enough, create your own. Any submissions will be displayed on a follow up post in the near future. Submissions can be emailed to me directly to fatherlystuff@gmail.com.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Mar 22, 2013

Fatherly Stuff Bracket Preview! (Children's TV Shows)

Ladies and Gentleman: March Madness is upon us.

All over the country people are setting up their own tournament brackets in an attempt to predict who will win the NCAA college basketball championship. This tournament is a source of fun, excitement and frustration for many: Even though the teams are supposedly ranked based on a seeding system, every team on the bracket has the potential to make to the big dance and win it all. This is what makes the tournament so awesome to watch.

In the spirit of this, I decided to create my own tournament. Children's TV has had somewhat of a boon in recent years. Companies nowadays pay millions of dollars in order to create focus groups and research studies to produce the best educational TV for our kids (not out of the kindness of their heart of course, but I digress).  Most of us let our young children watch these TV shows, but have you ever wondered which one was the best? Well, we're about to find out. The "players" will be 16 popular children's educational TV shows that we watch with our kids and they will be separated based on the channel that they are broadcasted on. I wanted to call it March Dadness, but sadly it was already taken. Here is the breakdown:

Region 1 (Disney Jr)
Doc McStuffins
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Region 2 (PBS Kids)
Cat in the Hat Knows Alot About That
Super Why
Dinosaur Train
Sesame Street

Region 3 (Nick Jr)
Yo Gabba Gabba
Team Umizoomi
Dora The Explorer
Wonder Pets

Region 4 (Sprout)
The Wiggles
Bob the Builder
Thomas and Friends

Starting Monday, I will go through each region and list each of the shows strength's and weaknesses based on the quality of the programming and educational value. Readers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite during each match up. By the end of the voting period, the show with the most votes will move on, the loser will be eliminated. There is a picture of the bracket:
So get ready because on Monday, the battle for supremacy begins!

Mar 19, 2013

Flashlight Fun

Question for you: What is the hottest toy on the market right now?

I’ll give you a hint: It’s not a $30+ item that laughs when you tickle it. You can actually find this awesome toy for less than $5 in almost any discount store in the world.

Give up? Okay, I’ll tell you! It’s a flashlight!

Hold on now, before you close out the screen for wasting your time, at least give me a chance to explain. You ever buy a huge expensive toy for your kid, only for them to just want to play with the box? Well, it’s based on that principal. Case in point: Not long ago, we bought our son an Innotab, which is the children’s version of a tablet. It has some pretty good games and he absolutely loved it- for about five minutes. He quickly got tired of the games and we were basically forced incentivized to purchase a number of game cartridges (between $30-$40) just to  keep him interested in using it. Moral of the story? Sometimes, keeping it simple is best.  The dark has a pretty bad rap for being scary and mysterious. However with a flashlight, there are a many creative games that will keep your kids entertained throughout the night (at least until it’s time for bed).

1.       Make shadow puppets

Shadow puppetry has been a popular form of entertainment all over the world for many centuries.    Whether it's making your own , or making hand shadow puppets, you can create all sorts of characters.

2.       Shadow (Sensory) guessing game

These particular activities are both stimulating and also sensory.  First, you can shine various objects like toys through the flashlight and have your child guess what it is. The other game would involve having your child identify an object based on texture (ex. rough, smooth, bumpy).
Can you guess who this character is?


3.       Tell silly stories

Photo Credit
This one is a classic.  We usually cover ourselves with a huge comforter, turn on the flashlight and take turns making up all sorts of fantastical stories. One of his particular favorites involves him has a superhero rescuing people from scary monsters.



4.       Hide and go seek

This is probably my favorite: We turn off all the lights in the house and either my wife or I are partnered with my son (so he won’t be afraid) as the “hider” or “seeker”. He is using the flashlight to look for the other parent or to find a nice hiding spot.
5.      Flashlight Twirling 

Photo Credit

         This is what all the young adults do in  the night clubs, sans alcohol and ecstasy (so I hear). For safety, I recommend you do this is an open space. Simply turn on some fun music, turn off the lights  and twirl your flashlights is various ways to make all types of light trails. Trust me, it's super fun.
So next time there blackout in your neighborhood or need an activity to do while camping or before bed, never fear; just pull out your handy dandy flashlight and you’re guaranteed have hours of fun with your kids.

Mar 18, 2013

WIN IT: $30 in Accessories (Fatherly Stuff Springtime Giveaway-CLOSED)

In a couple of days, it will finally be springtime.

It couldn't have come at a better time; I don't know about you guys, but this has been one of the worst winters in about 30 years and I'm tired of shoveling snow.

Spring is a significant time of the year for many families because of the traditions they share. These traditions vary from the religious (Passover, Palm Sunday), to the entertaining (Easter egg hunts), to the  hygienic (spring cleaning). This is the theme of our giveaway.

I've partnered with Vivaneskha (Vivi), owner of Jenvy Accessories. Vivi is extremely skilled and specializes in handmade accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more. The winner of this giveaway will get up to $30 to spend on any item from her store. Here are some of the items:

Click HERE to see the shop's full inventory!
In order to enter, all you have to do is answer the following question in the comment section below:
What is your favorite springtime tradition?

The comments will be numbered and randomly selected by random.org. One person per entry. One comment = 1 entry. The deadline for the final entry will be Thursday, 3/21 @ 11:59PM EST. Winner will be announced Friday, 3/22.

(*Must Be 18+ to enter. Also when commenting, please make sure you add an email. Don't worry, we wont be using it for marketing. We just need a way to contact you when/if you win)

Good luck to you all and thank you in advance for participating!

Mar 15, 2013

Fatherly Stuff Mailbag: How Do You Bond With a Child that Only Wants Mommy?

Here is a question from fellow dad Mike:

Hey, any advice for getting through the "I WANT MOMMY" phase? I have a 2 and a half year old that almost refuses to let me do anything to help him/play with him (when Mommy is home/around). If it is him and I... (he) is just the sweetest thing in the world with me.

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your question. I couldn't help but chuckle as I read this because I went through the EXACT same situation. To the point where if I wasn't there to personally cut the umbilical cord, I would have thought my son was still attached somehow.

For my son's first 8-9 months of life, mommy stayed home with him all day while I worked two jobs. This meant two things: 1) I missed out on a lot of the primary childcare duties and 2) When I was home, I only had a brief window of bonding time before it was time for bed.

Eventually I quit the 2nd job, but by then the damage was already done: We were great together when mommy ran errands or went out with her friends, but as soon as she came home, the tears would start rolling down his eyes and he would grab her legs as if he were being tortured.

So what gives?

Well, think about it from the little guy's perspective: Here is the person that carried him for 9 months, and was the primary source of food, shelter, warmth and safety during the post natal stages. So it's only natural that he is going to develop a strong bond with the mom.

I also think there is a gender component to this as well. Why do you think the popular terms are "mamma's boy" and "daddy's girl"? But I digress.

Here are some suggestions that helped me:
First of all, don't take it personal. In all truthfullness, being rejected by your own kid can hurt a little, but don't give up!
Also, when you, your child and the mom are doing activities together (cooking, arts and crafts, playing games etc), try taking the lead and letting mommy slowly take steps back until she is in the background. If he notices and starts with the "I WANT MOMMY", have the mom encourage/assure him to continue the activity with you. It's important to get validated by her.
If you are not doing this already, try incorporating yourself into his daily routines. Doing things like getting him dressed in the morning, giving him a bath and reading him his favorite stories at night will help develop a stronger bond with your child.
 The idea is demonstrating to him that like his mommy, you are also a reliable source of love, comfort and safety.
In the end though, you had it right when you called it a "phase" ' It is something that your son will eventually grow out of as he gains more and more independence. When that time comes, your presence will be crucial because he will be looking to you to help guide him into manhood.

I hope this helps!

Anyone else have a different take or additional pointers? Please share in the comment section below!

Mar 4, 2013

How I Taught My Son His First Curse Word

 It was a pretty typical morning: We are in the car on our way to daycare. My son tends to get antsy in the backseat so to pass the time; we usually like the sing a bunch of songs. The name of the song escapes me at the moment, but what had occurred next sets in motion the climax of this story.  I’m making a left turn on an intersection but before I can go through, another car comes in from my right and cuts me off, causing me to slam on my breaks.  The combination of fear, adrenaline and anger forces me to blurt out the “word” so fast it was already out of my mouth before I could catch it. Kinda like that scene from the movie, “A Christmas Story”
I regained my composure and after making sure the little guy was okay, we continued our commute with him blissfully unaware of how nwe arrowly averted a disaster. We didn’t drive more than 30 feet before he said it.


I looked at him it the rear view. He’s grinning ear to ear, as if he knew exactly what he was saying.

“F__k-f__k-f__key-f__k –f__k!”


If I was in a clearer state of mind, I probably would have explained that his daddy said a naughty word that he never should have said it. I probably would have also apologized that he heard such a word come out of my mouth and told him that we don’t say words like that because they can hurt people’s feelings.

That talk would come later down the line, when he was a little bit older. During that moment in a panic, I went into full denial mode:

“What? That’s not what I said! What I said was, fork.”

And it worked. He believed that I said "fork" and all was well with the world.

I’ll be the first to admit though; what I did was a 100%, pure USDA certified cop out. But I just wasn’t in the mindset to deal with it at that moment and besides, he was only 2 at the time, so he forgot all about that moment.
In any case, it was more so a lesson learned for me more than anything, It was a reminder that no matter where I am or what type of situation I may face, I am a father at all time. As such, I have the weight of expectation. The expectation that I carry myself with integrity and composure especially in the presence of my family, because of the example that I set for them.

Because of this, I make the conscious effort to not curse whether I'm with my kids or not. That isn't to say that I don't slip up from time to time (especially when I stub my toe), but I truly believe that simply the effort in itself moves me closer to being the type of dad my kids can be proud of.

(UPDATE: He just asked his mom for candy and when she said no, the first words to come out of his mouth was, "Damn!" Mom just gave me a glare. I'm in trouble.)

Question: Have you ever unintentionally blurted a curse word in front of your kids? How did you handle the situation?