The Field Trip

FieldtripMy youngest, who is in Pre-K had his first fieldtrip a few weeks back. I am lucky enough because I get to go on these field trips with him. One of the perks of being a Stay-at-home dad. One of his classmates parents owns a farm so the kids got to visit the farm and see cows, pigs, chickens, go on a hay ride, and all the kids got to pick out a pumpkin.

Fieldtrip 2The thing that stuck out to me most was the amount of dads who chaperoned the fieldtrip. I would say almost half the adults there were of the dad or grand-dad persuasion. I am so happy to see so many dads, especially working dads involved in their children’s lives.

It got me thinking because I drop off and pick up my kids everyday at school. I am at the building three times every day. I have been looking around, and I am not the anomaly there. There are lots of dads picking up and dropping their kids off. Lots of hugs, and kisses. Lots of comforting. Lots of dads not being the typical macho guy who doesn’t do anything besides earn for the family.

But, yesterday, I heard two moms talking and laughing at their husbands expense. I had to do everything to hold my tongue as they bashed their husbands about everything they do around the house and how they can’t seem to figure out how to do things the way that they (the women) like it done. Just because it isn’t your way doesn’t mean it is wrong. My wife and I do things much different around the house. But yet, here I am the primary caregiver of my children and not one kid has been scarred for life under my watch and I am sure not one of their children or households has been seriously injured under their husbands either.

I remember when I was in school, not many dads were involved in anything besides attending their son’s athletics. It is great to see how some things change, but it is obvious that there are still so many things that need to change, even just in that perception of what it means to be a dad.

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Brothers; Why Having a Brother Rules

BrothersAs a kid, I never really thought about what having a brother meant. My relationships with my brothers were (and still are) strained for various reasons. Partly due to distance, age difference growing up, and resentment. There isn’t really anything I can do to fix these situations as I have tried and failed…miserably.

But now that I am going through my adventures in daddyhood I look at my two boys and think about what it means to have a brother and how awesome it truly is.

These are my 4 Reasons Why Having a Brother Rules! (in no particular order)

1. Built in playmate. When you have a brother, you always have someone to play with. No single player mode for you. He is always there to help you take on the bad guys so you don’t have to go it alone. He always has your back in that first person shooter. He is there to play action figures, build empires out of bricks, cushions and whatever else you can  think of. He is there to fight zombies in the back yard with you. He is always there.

2. Teacher/Student. Ever get in trouble as the first child? Ever get away with it as a second child? As a first child you often got caught doing things the second always seems to get away with. Why? Because as the first child you have become the sensei and have (unfortunately) learned all the ways to get caught. You have passed that knowledge onto your younger brother and he is now a ninja warrior. Cunning, sneaky, able to get away with things you could have only dreamed of. Thanks big brother for taking one for the team.

3. Built in Best Friend. When you are younger, you will probably not realize it, however, as you get older you will. Know one can know you as well as your brother. You get in trouble together, you play together, you argue, laugh, fight. He is someone you can and should share all of your joy and pain with. Because he has grown up knowing who you are and no one can understand you and what you go through like your brother. So enjoy it.State Fair

4. Built in Mortal Enemy. With a brother, you also have your biggest enemy. He competes with you in everything. He is the competition in sports, video games., board games, attention from your parents, attention from girls. You will learn the art of self defense from your bother. As the younger brother you will learn the art of taking a serious beating at the hands of a larger opponent. You will take this beating and keep on coming back for more. As the older brother you will learn speed and dodging are your friend as as your younger brother has learned the art of the projectile to keep you at bay.

So enjoy having a brother. He is everything you need all rolled up in one. So go out enjoy life together.Playing

First Day of School

Ninja TrainingFirst Day of Ninja SchoolSo today it starts. It is old hat for the “A” and it should be old hat for his dad, but it isn’t. Today marks the day my youngest takes the next step away from needing me for everything to be more independent. Today, “N” goes to Pre-K. Today, I am no longer the center of his learning universe. Today, “N” will start learning all his ninja fighting skills from other kids and dare I say it…a teacher (gasp). Today is the day that his world starts to expand exponentially.

It is bitter sweet for me. I will enjoy the little bit of freedom I will have without the boys in theFirst Day 2 house, but I will miss the great adventures they take me on. I know, I know, I will still have plenty of time for them after school, but this new adventure for them makes me realize that I will gradually become less and less a part of  their lives as they learn and grow. I will be the taxi, the waiter, and the hotel concierge. I do realize that I will always be dad. I do realize that “A” and “N” will always love me. I just know that I will miss these full days, even if many of them are just filled with hanging out and watching shows and playing video games together.

So today, I sit here and contemplate the next phase of Ninja Training. Any suggestions?

Nervous Dad

apple picking 3Today is the day. Today, “N” goes on his first field trip…on a school bus even. For Summer Recreation they are going to a local place that has mini-golf, batting cages, video games, bounce houses, go-karts and lots of fun kids stuff. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be nervous. “A” will be with him. “A” has been on lots of field trips with school. But “A” is not 4. “A” was in kindergarten when he went on his first field trip. “N” hasn’t even officially started school yet.

So, yes, I am a nervous dad. I don’t show it on the outside but I will be thinking of them the entire time they are gone. So, while they are out, no doubt having a very good time, I will work on the numerous projects that the CEO (AKA the wife) has left for me to do (which I will probably be sharing with you all when they are done).

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

 

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

en.wikipedia.org

We are coming up on the end of the school year and I am sure some of you have already gotten there and are already enjoying the summer with your kids. Yet others may be counting down the days until they go back to school. But anyway, I digress.

When I was a counselor at Camp Lookout as a teenager we had a big campfire on Thursday nights before the campers went home on Friday. We would all sit around the campfire, sing some songs, thank people who made the weeks special for us and often read a story. For the 12 year olds this would be their last time coming to camp as a camper and it was especially emotional for many of them (and often us). The story we often would read would be “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.

I often think back to this book as it talks about growing up, moving on, and striking out on your own. It was so profound to those campers as they left a place of sanctuary and stability (which was often the only one they had in their lives) and set out on their own with out us.

Now that I am a parent, my wife and I have thought ahead to a time when our own little Supers move out on their own and have to make decisions on their own without us. So, we purchased these books to give to our “A” and “N” when they graduate from high school. Yes, we already purchased them twelve years before they graduate. We did this so that at the end of each school year we can give the book to their teachers and have them sign and write something inspirational to them. Then when they graduate they will have a gift twelve years in the making. They will see how much people cared for them and that they want them to succeed.

Hopefully, they will look at these book and think that we were the best parents ever for being so thoughtful and caring so much. Hopefully, they will look back at these books and remember all the people who cared for them and hope that they do not get stuck in “the waiting place”.

Because, Will they succeed? “Yes!” They “will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).” I sure hope yours will too.

I would love to hear from you and what great ideas you have for when your children move on and up, so please leave a comment.