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Daddy

Guardian of her Galaxy

By | Daddy, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, Parenting | 2 Comments

guardians-of-the-galaxy-chris-pratt-shows-star-lord-s-hilarious-side-chris-pratt-is-basically-down-to-play-star-lord-foreverGuardian of (her) Galaxy. Let’s face it. It’s your job.

Fathers of young daughters know this. Everything in her world (galaxy) is placed at your feet as her guardian. While that may seem like a daunting task, you can do it. Look at what how much you are already just like the five DC Comics characters from the Guardians of the Galaxy all rolled into one.

Star-Lord:  Just like Star Lord possesses traits of both his human mother and alien father, you have the dynamic-duality of both provider and nurturer. You can bring home the bacon, fry it, feed her, and do the dishes afterwards. You can burp the alphabet in English and master a braid in French.  (Not to mention you literally are the lord over all of the glow-in-the-dark stickers on her closet door.)

Drax: This warrior has increased strength and stamina as any Dad with young kids possesses. You didn’t know you could carry a stroller, pack and play, and diaper bag at once until you became a father did you?  The stamina required to remain patient while walls are drawn on or food is thrown must come from some other planet. How do you do it? You may not be able to project concussive blasts of cosmic energy from your hands, but you can show her how to master the “pound…now blow it up” move.

Rocket Raccoon: When the need arises you are just as shockingly fast and you also possess an acute sense of smell (poopy diapers from across the room), sight (you never lose at Hide and Seek), hearing (it’s too quiet in this house), and touch (See: expert tickler). Your expert marksmanship impresses even while blindfolded at a birthday party. Take that, piñata.

Gamora: Sure she’s the most skilled martial artist in the Universe but she still has to touch people to paralyze them. You just have to start counting to three. And while she may have the power to accelerate the healing of her own body, you can instantly heal others with a boo-boo kiss. Seriously, how do you not have your own Marvel comic movie deal?

Groot: Ok, he’s made of wood so this might be a tough one. But he’s also able to sprout extra limbs (read: carrying baby gear) and can control trees and you can build one killer tree house. Plus, she’ll always look up to you no matter how tall she grows.

Does the “DC” in DC Comics stand for Dad Can? Dad, Champion? Daughter Caregiver?

We may never know.  But if you are one of the many who are involved in your daughter’s life, don’t keep your  identity a secret. Join us at the DDT Facebook page.

If you like this, maybe you’ll like some of my other favorites? My New Morning Show,  Men Suck… , The Wonder of a Weed, and the G-Talk series


If you like what you’re reading, please SUBSCRIBE on the front page and we’ll send you an email when a new blog goes up. Plus you can LIKE us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram too.

Horses! Letting Go of the Reins

By | Daddy, Daughter, Development, event, Fathers and Daughters, Independence, Memories, Parenting, Personality, Quality Time, Relationships | No Comments

download (1)I see 1,200 pounds of pure muscle snorting down on 35 pounds of determined innocence. The paternal instinct to rush in and protect the little girl looking up at the spotted horse hits my spine and she isn’t even my daughter.

I fight the urge to step in (or to say anything) because I know where we are and that this “introduction” is part of the process.

Minutes later, there’s a stable full of girls ranging from age 4 – 15 leading their designated horses around obstacle courses or over large teeter-totters. Next to them are fathers looking at their little girls in a whole new way. Within the hour, young women who had never been on a horse are sitting bareback on them and beaming from ear to ear.

SEE THE FULL GALLERY OF PICTURES HERE

The Daddy Daughter Time Horses! Event at Equine Assisted Development of the Great Lakes in Alto, MI was one of those “can’t stop smiling” days (even while I was shoveling up ‘horse apples’). The well-trained horses are accustomed to meeting new faces and Deb VanderBand, the founder and leader of this organization, knows how to empower even the littlest of women.

According to the organization’s Facebook page, EAD specializes in the development and enhancement of non-verbal communication skills, assertiveness, creative thinking, problem-solving, leadership, taking responsibility, teamwork, relationships, confidence, and attitude. In the two sessions with our groups of Dads and daughters, she touched on all of them.

Sometimes it’s hard as a father to “let go of the reins” and see what your daughter can do on her own. Watching her face challenges (much larger than her), solve problems, and find the strength to face her fears can make it difficult on a Dad who wants to help and protect. This is one of those environments where letting her take the lead is encouraged and it was so cool to watch them do just that.

Throw in the miniature ponies and mules, a trip up to the hay loft, Bags the barn cat, and a chance for some of the girls to feed the horses, and a memorable day was made for all who came out. (And special props go to Nick Gonzalez who dealt with the only feisty moment of the day – Dude, you looked like a genuine cowboy/superhero.)

A full gallery is up.  Please share it with other Dads and let them know about Daddy Daughter Time!

A huge thank you to goes to our presenting sponsor – Land Rover of Grand Rapids – for helping make the day possible. Not only do they sell quality vehicles, they’ve got some pretty awesome Dads working there, too.

 

If you like this, maybe you’ll like some of my other favorites: My New Morning Show,  Men Suck… , The Wonder of a Weed, and the G-Talk series


Don’t miss out on our next blog! SUBSCRIBE on the front page and we’ll send you an email when a new post goes up. Plus you can LIKE us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram too.

My New Morning Show

By | Daddy, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, Growing Up, Memories, Parenting, Personality, Quality Time, Relationships | 6 Comments

RG-stuff-11For half of my 12-year career in radio, I would wake up well before sunrise each day to try and deliver an entertaining and informative morning show. So I rarely had time to listen to other radio shows or watch morning television.

When I got a new job outside of the industry, I thought I would finally have the time catch up on what everyone else was doing.

Turns out, that wasn’t the case. It’s not that I don’t have the time. It’s just that I have a completely different morning show that covers all of the bases for me.

She’s four and she’s the highest rated “show” in my home and car. My daughter delivers all of the basic components of morning TV and radio. Let me break it down for you…

Energy

Morning radio and television shows are typically higher energy shows. My daughter has been known to go from “zombie sleep” to “dance, dance” mode in about 45 seconds after waking.  Even more curious is when the first words out of her mouth are a continuation of the conversation we were having at bedtime as if no time had passed and she had simply pressed Pause on her brain.

Music

I like to start my day with some tunes. For this, my daughter delivers two popular options in her large repertoire of music:

  1. A made up song with no discernible melody with lyrics that describe whatever she is looking at and thinks I’ll laugh at. (Example: “Stanley the squirrel, the squirrel, the squirrel, is eating all the bird feeder food. Bad squirrel. Bad squirrel”)
  2. “Let It Go” from Frozen. On the same high spin rotation as most Top40 stations’ songs (See: Repeat, repeat)

Weather

This one pairs with music as well. If it’s rainy, I hear “Rain, rain go away, come again another day.” If it’s sunny, we sing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical “Oklahoma.” Weather is described in terms like sunny and cloudy, warm and cold, but also with “craft day,” “long pants day,” or “I want the blue sunscreen because that other sunscreen smells like dumpster” day.

Skits/Bits

I love well executed bits. Wacky characters used for comedic effect were fun to develop and deliver while on the air. But now instead of waking up to “Mr. Leonard and his Wheel of Meat,” I get to tune in to the ongoing Saga of the Stuffed Animals including a horse, baby doll, dog, and monkey. I’m pretty sure Molly the Monkey is the stunt boy even though she’s a girl. She gets tossed around a lot.

You can add “celebrity interviews” in here, too. The characters are starting to talk back as her imagination grows.

News

While radio and TV shows are giving me the latest breaking news, G is giving me up to the minute updates of things that happened over a year ago. Who knows what sparked the memory of her feeding a giraffe? And who cares? I’d rather relive that story than hear about immigration issues or health care.

Traffic

While she completely understands the concept – (“a lot of cars on this road”), our traffic report always boils down to one thing: Did it recently rain enough to fill up the mud puddle at the bend of the road in our neighborhood so Daddy can splash it with his car tire.

Time and Temp

To be honest, she stinks at this. She has no sense of time or what numbers means when it comes to the time of day or temperature outside. I have been told that she loves me “a million eight” while she proudly promises to sleep “for three minutes” during nap time. I think she thinks those two amounts are the same.

Thankfully, I have an iPhone to give me this info whenever I need it. But then again, I’d have to have my iPhone. Our recent Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read app has her wanting to hoard it.

I’ve got it all. She’s topical, local, entertaining, and informative…not to mention commercial free.  The only thing missing is my chance to win free concert tickets. I love this show.

T.

If you like this, maybe you’ll like some of my other favorites? Men Suck… , The Wonder of a Weed, and the G-Talk series


If you like what you’re reading, please SUBSCRIBE on the front page and we’ll send you an email when a new blog goes up. Plus you can LIKE us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram too.

Men Suck…

By | Daddy, Daughter, Development, Fathers and Daughters, Memories, Parenting, Relationships | 4 Comments

images (1)Admit it. Men suck at networking.

Don’t think so?

Imagine you are a man walking into a conference room with some of the major power players in your industry. You have shown great promise in your career and the other men you are about to meet could greatly increase your standing and get you to the next level.

You would want to learn from them and show them what you know. You would want to befriend them so you could have more access and form a network of lifelong associates that help each other succeed.

That is the essence of networking – maintaining a group of colleagues that symbiotically succeed.

Many men excel at this in their professional lives but they suck at it when it comes to parenting.

Most women do it. It’s one of the first things they use to connect with each other before adding to their circle of friends (see: network). Men use the topics of sports or business before children when connecting with other men.

The good news: If you want to find other Dads like you – fathers that want to parent with a purpose and place a higher priority in taking an active role in their children’s lives – we are out there. You can find them at every Daddy Daughter Time event. DDT Dads wouldn’t be there if they didn’t place value on the time they spend with their girls.

The role of fatherhood is evolving and morphing men into more involved caregivers responsible for every aspect of their children’s lives instead of just a ‘policeman with a paycheck.’

We feed, burp, and change.

We bathe, bounce, and braid.

You see more and more of us finding homes for our blogs on Today, Huffington Post, and the New York Times’s websites.

This Father’s Day is a good opportunity to not only start being remembered for the memories you made with your kids but to meet other guys who want the same thing. It’s easy…

Just come and network.

Just think how much “success” you could accomplish when it comes to the relationships with your kids if you were part of a network of lifelong associates that help each other succeed. (Sound familiar?)

T.


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What Daddy Wants…

By | Conversations, Daddy, Father's Day, Memories, Quality Time, Relationships | No Comments


no-ties
Why is it so hard for some people to find the right gift for Dad on Father’s Day?

I know the answer, but you might not like it.

Think about a close or best friend…a true friend who has been by your side through everything. You know quite a bit about them don’t you? You have a history. You went through it together when sh– got real. It’s pretty easy to figure out what to get them for a gift. You know more than just the cursory details of their life. You’ve spent lots of time together.

If you can’t say the same for your Dad, you may find yourself struggling to get him something for Father’s Day.

This isn’t a guilt trip. (Ok, it’s a small one). I get it – there are lots of reasons you and your old man aren’t that tight. It could be his fault, your fault, or just the way the world turned.

I was in your shoes. I could never figure out what to get my Dad for Father’s Day (or his birthday…or Christmas). I just didn’t know the man that well and I didn’t make the effort until just before it was too late and he was gone.

His gifts regularly included fishing gear, golf gear, or a pair of leather gloves. I knew these things about him and he may have even liked them. But I think I know what he (and every other Dad in the world worthy of calling himself a father) really wants.

I wrote about it in a guest blog for www.grkids.com. It hurt a little to write but I think that’s a good thing.

T.


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The Wonder of a Weed

By | Daddy, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, Growing Up, Memories, Relationships | 4 Comments

27306_2012042515314919AqM.thumbYou can take the time to contemplate the universe and all of its infinite vastness. What does your existence mean? Where do you belong in the ultimate grand scheme of things?

Thoughts about your country and where it is headed are meaningful. What will your role be as a citizen? Where do you fit in as a member of society?

You can spend some brain time thinking your state and city. What do they offer you? How can you invest in them to make them better?

Knowing your neighborhood (and more importantly your neighbors) is time well spent. Finding a space and purpose within your community is essential.

Minding your home is important. Remaining aware of not only the structure itself but the warmth, safety, and dynamic of where your family will live is significant.

But don’t let these ruminations crowd out those most basic to happiness.

Before all of those other thoughts entered our minds, we each stopped and picked dandelions.

We marveled at their brightness.

We reveled in their scent.

We rubbed them under our chins to see if we really liked butter or not.

And if we were lucky, we had the chance to give a few of them to someone we love.

Having a daughter has given me the chance to live out the cliché of “seeing the world through the eyes of a child.” While I was recently looking at my lawn and adding some Round-Up weed killer to my mental shopping list, she handed a freshly-picked bunch of dandelions to me with an “I love you Daddy” and along with it a new perspective.

Dedicate some time (seriously, schedule it if that helps) to celebrate the simple.

Think about what is inside of you instead of everything that surrounds you. I know being a grownup can be hard. There’s a lot to consider. But without true happiness within, time spent thinking about your home, state, country, or universe becomes pointless.

Pardon the pun, but you could call it a “grassroots movement” for your soul. Remember…it’s not necessarily the roses you need to stop and smell. A handful of weeds can be just as wonderful.

Thanks G. I love you, too.

 


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Disneyland: The Emotional Rollercoaster

By | Daddy, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, Growing Up, Memories, Parenting, Relationships | No Comments

985175-13-20160117075156There are actually hundreds of roller coasters in Disneyland. It’s just that most of them are emotional.

Having recently returned from a trip there with my wife and 4-year old daughter, I can now take you on this imaginary ride of things recently experienced or witnessed.

Please keep your hands and feet inside the moving vehicle at all times and secure all loose items.

Optimism – The look on every parents’ face as they stand fresh and ready to fully deliver on their promise to bring their kids to the happiest place on earth.

Excitement – The announcement has been made and the gates are open. Grownups become kids again while kids quickly realize that this entire world has been created for them.

Thrill – While some kids literally squeal, others (mine included) stand slack-jawed staring at an actual castle. It’s an emotional overload.

Euphoria – Never mind the giant Olaf-shaped candy apple your child has inhaled. A simple sugar rush could never touch the part of her endorphin-releasing brain as strongly as meeting Elsa and Anna from “Frozen”. Achievement unlocked: Parent of the Year.

Anxiety – She wants to go on a ride but you’re unsure. Will she even like the ride? Will she be scared? It’s a crap shoot. Roll the dice and hope that it pays off in smiles versus tears. Hint: Start with teacups and carousels and work your way up to “flying” an elephant on the Dumbo ride.

Denial – It can’t be. You’ve waited longer in this line than what you would expect the wait at a DMV in Hell to be. It can’t be – there’s only one Anna and Elsa? Shouldn’t there be an assembly line of these characters tucked away? Stupid Disney’s infamous “rule of one” can’t be that important. It can’t be – Ariel’s Grotto ride is closed?

Fear – Two types.

First, the fear that your child will have a meltdown like the random implosions you’re sporadically witnessing. Having to discipline your child is one thing but having to do it at Disneyland is another. There is no “time out” ride.

Second, the awesome feeling of fear as the bottom falls out at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. So good, you ride it twice.

Depression – No fireworks? #sadface We can’t stay here forever? #sadderface

Panic – Where are the park hopper passes? I had them right here. Where is our stroller? We left it right here. Where is our child?!? The look on the faces of some of the parents outside of Guest Services look like something from a Stephen King story.

Capitulation – Yes, I know that I can buy Disney gear at Target for half the price… What the heck, Daddy needs a new hoodie, too.

Desperation – Where can I find a Queen Elsa dress? Sold out?! Noooooo. (I heard this more than once but every time I went to a store I seemed to have no trouble finding the gear) #mystery

Hope – I hope the wait for Elsa and Anna will be worth it (It was). I hope all the princesses pay special attention to my daughter (They did). I hope we can go on some grown up rides, too. (Front seat of the California Screamin’!)

Relief – We are blessed. Perfect weather. Quality time for sister, daughter, and wife. No meltdowns and the checklist of “really wants” is fully checked.

Optimism – Two types.

First, that she’ll go to bed without a fuss. It’s not like she just had the best day of her life and doesn’t want it to end. #icantshutmyeyes.

Second, we have a two-day pass. Who knows what magic tomorrow may bring…time to wish upon a star.


Frozen-photo-pinOn a personal note… for those fans of Frozen…

Four and a half hours.

I’ve never waited for any event for that amount of time but that’s what we were told when we got in the line to meet Elsa and Anna from “Frozen.” (Never mind the fact that I was first in line when the gates opened and “speed walked” my way directly to the attraction.) I guess those with the “magic hour” pass to get them into the park an hour early decided to spend it standing in line as well.

The wait was a team effort between my sister (who carried most of the load), wife, and myself. While one or more of us waited, the others would hit the rest of the park with Grace.

It became an even more communal effort as parents went on coffee runs for each other, watched each other’s kids so they could go grab lunch or hit the restroom, and shared games. In retrospect, I could have finished a good book if I’d thought ahead. Instead, I met June and Angie standing next to me in line and figured by the time we got to see the characters, they would be on my Christmas card list… or it would actually be Christmas.

Click…Clack…Click…Clack. Imagine the feeling of climbing that first big coaster hill. This is the anticipation you have when you are finally next in line to be called.

Wheeeeeeeeee!

There they are! The “real” Queen Elsa and her quirky sister. Give Disney credit. Once you are in their presence, you aren’t rushed out the door. Grace played hide and seek with Elsa looking for Anna, they answered her questions, let her touch the snowflakes in her hair, allowed us to take as many pictures and videos as we wanted, and even let us sing a song.

Weeks later it is the first thing she talks about when anyone asks her about the trip, so for us, the “ride” was worth the wait.
T.


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G-Talk: The One About The Plane

By | Conversations, Daddy, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, G-Talk, Memories, Personality, Quality Time, Relationships | 3 Comments

airplanes-work-1Disneyland.

That one word can have the same effect as Christmas to most young girls. 

My daughter is only 4 so the full concept of what the amusement park brings didn’t reach its full potential until she was standing slack-jawed on Main Street looking at Sleeping Beauty’s castle. When it finally hit home, we literally embodied the “happiest” part of “the happiest place on Earth.”

But before we got to enjoy the days of teacup rides, princess makeovers, and meeting Mickey and Minnie, we had to get to California… and that meant a plane ride.

Many thoughts went through my mind. Would she be scared? Would she like it? Would her ears be ok?

But as she usually does, Grace amazed me with her calm demeanor, curiosity, and cuteness.

Living a plane ride through her eyes had me answering questions and witnessing things I would never have expected. (Example: Watching her try and clean the ‘fog’ off the window as we ascended through the clouds.)

Here’s the adorable audio of her giving me the play by play from take off (which she started calling “blast off” on the return trip) to landing.

Here’s the one about the plane…

(You can hear previous G-Talks: The one about The Skunk,  The BatBad Breath, and Baseball)

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G-Talk: The One About Baseball

By | Daddy, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, G-Talk, Growing Up, Memories, Personality, Relationships, Spring Time, Toddlers | One Comment

48760-1350637836Am I an optimist? Of course, I’m a Chicago Cubs fan and every year hope springs eternal.

Is my daughter an optimist? I think so… but I know she’s a Cubs fan.

She was with us at Wrigley Field handing the engagement ring to Jana when I proposed. (The Cardinals won the game but I still left the ballpark happy.) She has to wear her “baseball shoes”…also known as blue sparkly shoes…when we play pepper with the inflatable beach baseball. Her one and only ball cap is a flowery one with a big C on the front. She’s in.

So she noticed Dad’s excitement when Opening Day came around this week. She’s too young for me to explain that Theo Epstein has us on a schedule and that the true results of his farm club work won’t show up for a couple of years… so instead, I asked her what she knew about the game.

In the process, I got to explain Cracker Jacks and how long a century is…and maybe unicorns aren’t such a bad idea (but only if they can switch hit.)

Here’s the one about baseball…

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Catch previous G-Talks: The one about The Skunk,  The Bat,  and Bad Breath


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G-Talk: The One About The Skunk

By | Daddy, Daughter, Development, Fathers and Daughters, G-Talk, Growing Up, Memories, Parenting | 2 Comments

Pepe_Le_PewI don’t specifically remember where my first childhood “monster” came from but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t from a PBS video on YouTube. (Of course, there was no YouTube back then so “scary” things were at a distinct disadvantage on getting to my eyeballs.)

My daughter has always been an excellent sleeper. She is four and has yet to even mention a bad dream. But that streak was tested last week as we read her books before bedtime.

Here’s the play by play…

She had picked out a few books including “Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?” This book is like the others in the series but with a selection of different animals like flying squirrels, mule deers, and blue herons….oh… and a skunk.

While reading to her I thought it would be neat to show her a video of a flying squirrel. But first she wanted to see a skunk.

I tested SIRI’s capabilities and asked my iPhone to search the web for videos of a skunk. In the results, I saw one by PBS. That should be safe, right? No curse words. Educational.

Here’s the video:

You heard him right. The narrator did say “two nozzles from its rear” as they repeatedly, and I mean repeatedly, showed a close up of the skunk’s anus. I’m sorry if you watched that while eating.

Grace was fascinated. (Whew).

She wanted to watch it again. So we did. Then we finished the books and it was time for bed.

Enter the fear of skunks. I spent the better part of a half hour talking her off the ledge while she thought of every conceivable counterargument to my reassurances of her safety from a smelly skunk entering her room.

Oh, and my apologies if you live in California but somebody had to take the fall.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/140218623?secret_token=s-kRT4L” params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]

Catch previous G-Talks: The one about The Bat and the one about Bad Breath


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