Sunday, March 25, 2007

Real dad's dont play pretend?

Escape From Candy Land
You don't have to enjoy playing with your kids to be a great dad.
By Hugh O'Neill, Best Life

At a late-night dinner during a golf-and-laughs guys' weekend, one of the boys griped into his whiskey about how his wife was always pressuring him to play with their kids. There was a sudden, and oddly deep, moment of silence as he went on. "I love my kids, I really do," he said, haunted and single-malt high. "But sometimes, hanging out with them, I think I may lose my freakin' mind."

After a few furtive glances around the restaurant, as if to make sure the coast was clear, there poured forth from the other seven men a tsunami of solidarity such as I have never seen. It was as if his dad lament had broken some seal, freeing the rest of us, all fathers good and true, to say what had been previously unsayable, to give voice to the tedious truth about being with children.

Each guy had his own grim testimony of being pressed to play board games or hide-and-seek, to climb through monkey bars, or to portray a wicked stepsister in a backyard production of Cinderella. It was a confessional catalog of claustrophobia, of men shrunk down to child-size. One guy summed up the ambiguity thusly: "I'd race into a burning building to rescue my kids, but please, don't make me take them to the park! I'm begging you, anything but the park!

"It's time to blow the whistle on the Myth of the Smitten Dad. You see this myth propagated on talk shows, where celebrity fathers gush about the elations of fatherhood. They're just plain in love with their kids, goes the sermon. Fatherhood has made the scales fall from their eyes. Now they get it. Now they can see all that silly professional striving for the vanity it was. Oh, the pure joy of the kids' innocence and purity and…ai-yi-yi! It's not enough these days to be a responsible, dedicated father. You're supposed to be somehow re-enchanted by your love for your kids.

Now, if this spiel were just treacle, I'd say no harm, no foul. But it isn't just a sickening display; it's also a big, fat lie. For every father who is smitten with his kids, there are five of us who find the next generation, at least in the early years, boring.

I had a breakthrough liberation moment when I was in the park with my 6-year-old, playing some dumb wizard game with him. You see, I was supposed to love our Saturday time together. Anyway, I was hiding, scrunched up behind a bench, all 190 pounds of Dad. Now, I'm perfectly prepared to believe that I projected the following sentiments onto my boy, but here's what I remember when Josh captured me, shouting some magical elf words as he did. He looked a little rueful, as though disappointed in me. Don't you have better things to do, Dad? I imagined his expression said. Isn't there someplace else you should be? And then I heard a voice—okay, I had an auditory delusion, if you prefer—like the disembodied celestial whisper from Field of Dreams: "Don't be his playmate," it said. "Be his father."

If you can do both, that's great. But if you're like me and you start to feel like a Sartre character the instant you lie on your tummy in the living room and flick the Strawberry Shortcake game spinner, do not feel compelled to do it. You don't have to be Robin Williams. You can still be John Wayne. And know this: You are not alone! You are part of a great brotherhood. And most important, remember that you are of no use to anyone—your kids, your wife, your country—if you go slowly insane.

Keep these thoughts in mind:

Don't apologize. Women will act as though any man who doesn't cherish each moment with his kids is a reprobate and should be put instantly on a no-fly list. Don't buy into it. Don't let them get you on the defensive. Bridling at being with children doesn't make you a bad father. It merely makes you a man.

Puff up. In fact, go beyond a lack of shame to a pride in your inability to miniaturize yourself. Hey, it's not your fault that your blood is thick with testosterone and so not exactly congenial to Amelia Bedelia. A grizzly bear can't knit a sweater. A tiger can't play the flute. And some men are so robust and vigorous they can't—and shouldn't—get small with kids. But they can…

Invite them. Of course, you can't disappear. If you're as good a man as I think you are, your kids will benefit from time with you. They need your presence in their lives. And moreover, Mom needs help. They're not exactly a perfect match with her, either. But rather than cramming your swaggering self into your kids' little world, sweep them into your roomier one. Take fewer trips to the playground and more to the hardware store. Surely you could use an apprentice for that drywall job. Somebody has to hand you the nails. And don't take them to Chuck E. Cheese's, but on a hike to Havasu Falls. Include them in the things you enjoy. Let them be part of your man's world, rather than shrinking yourself to their size.

I was a child a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. And, to be sure, the gender landscape of family life was different then. But I still remember the impression my father made on me. He was warm and affectionate and plenty willing when time allowed to toss the football around. But my father didn't do games and he didn't do pretend, and he had no patience for the goofiness of kids, and he didn't apologize for wanting to be left alone from time to time. He was a man. He had a man's concerns, a man's plans, a man's demons. He took us camping and bought us dogs and filled our youth with his energy. But he had no interest in childish things. And yet nobody in our family ever doubted, not for a moment, his love for them. His passion for his kids was man-size.

In my memory, his self-possession was a come-hither to adulthood. He was fully engaged in his life, enthused about its pleasures and its challenges. It wasn't so much that he enjoyed being a dad as it was that he enjoyed being a man. My father was full of promise, and so he invited his kids to be intrigued by their futures.

Being a father has been the most enriching experience I've ever had. There is no second-place finisher. But it wasn't great because I enjoyed the gazillion laughs and million moments of care. Did the boys of Pointe du Hoc enjoy that morning on the beach in Normandy? Not likely. But the obligation fell to them and they were there. And it was a noble cause. Now, I understand that fatherhood isn't putting yourself in harm's way, but guess what, Dad? You're there and it's a noble cause. Any frat boy can succeed at doing something he digs. A call to duty is more enriching than mere delight.

So, if you want to play patty-cake with your kids, go right ahead. Whatever works for you is good by me. But just don't do it because they say you should. Your chances of enjoying fatherhood will double the instant you realize that you don't have to.

Sometimes the best thing a man can do for his children is to live his own life with honor and vigor and let them watch. Having a front-row seat to a loving man in full may be all a child needs.

Ladies(and the occassional dads), is it me, or does it seems more and more he's looking for an excuse?

Yeah, some days its hard to get down and try and play tea party. Or run around, and I understand introducing kids to adult type stuff, but really, his language tells a different tale? "Stupid" wizards game? I dont know....

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Its a Boy!

That is all....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A joke for all you ladies that read my blog

The Husband store

A store that sells husbands has just opened in New York City , where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates. You may visit the store ONLY ONCE!

There are six floors and the attributes of the men increase as the shopper ascends the flights. There is, however, a catch . . . You may choose any man from a particular floor, or you may choose to go up a floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building! So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. .

On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor 1 - These men have jobs.

The second floor sign reads:

Floor 2 - These men have jobs, and love kids.

The third floor sign reads:

Floor 3 - These men have jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking.

"Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

She goes to the fourth floor and sign reads:

Floor 4 - These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead good looking and help with the housework.

Oh mercy me" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it!"

Still, she goes to the fifth floor and sign reads:

Floor 5 - These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead gorgeous, help with the housework, and have a strong romantic streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 6 - You are visitor 4,363,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please.

Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store. Watch your step as you exit the building, and have a nice day!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sarah's birthday present

As you know, Sarah's birthday was two weeks ago. Last week we gave her her birthday present, a trip to Great Wolf Lodge. If you have never been there, and have kids, go. You wont regret it.

Here's the pics:

Sarah swimming in the kiddie area. It has a great big one for the wee ones.

Magic Quest. Buy the wand and the game and it unlocks stuff as you solve the riddles. We love it!

Club club! PLay area and craft time!

Wehad fun. Bye!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cooking update

Made dinner again. Successfully. She liked it alot.

I made the stuff below. I made minor changes, subsituted cornish hens for the pheasant......and a couple changes to the salad, otherwise as below.

Here's the first recipe:

Cranberry Glazed Pheasant: Makes 3-4 servings.

1 whole dressed pheasant (1 ½ - 2 ¼ lbs) skin on, trussed.
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup orange-flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
Orange slices and cranberries for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pheasant breast-side-up in small roasting pan. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Cover pan with foil. Roast for 45 minutes.Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar and juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in liqueur and peel. Simmer for 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Remove glaze from heat.Remove foil from pheasant and spoon 1 cup glaze over pheasant. Continue roasting, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until pheasant is tender and golden brown and juices run clear, basting frequently with pan juices.Remove pheasant from oven and place on warm serving platter. Spoon ½ cup remaining glaze over pheasant. Garnish with orange slices and cranberries. Serve remaining glaze with pheasant.


An Israeli Salad
4 tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small green pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olice oil
1 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Friday, March 09, 2007

Turning over a new leaf

Trying to be better.

Since the Mrs is pregnant, and working late alot of time. So meals really dont get cooked. And the mrs hinted it would be nice if I learned to did.

Before we left on sarah's birthday suprises to Great Wolf Lodge(pictures coming soon), I enlisted some help of some friends online elsewhere, two ladies and a guy, who DO know how to cook and said, ok, give me something.

So, with my cell phone and some emails to help me out when I had stupid guy questions about cooking.....I cooked dinner. Grabbed Sarah after work, we went shopping, and then came home, made her a fast dinner and proceeded to time it so dinner would be ready by the time she got home.

So I cooked. I made mash potatoes, from real potatoes, some peas, and a nice set of pork chops with a honey glaze. And picked up apple sauce. And it came out perfect.

Kim walked in and after saying hello, said "what smells so good?" Lead her to the kitchen and let her see(and no I didn't make a big mess), she LOVED it. It was good, she had two helpings and couldn't get the big grin off her face.

So tomorrow, Saturday, I'm off to make her some nice Cornish hens with cranberry sauce/glaze....*grin*

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sarah turned 4 yesterday

*sniffle* she's getting so BIG....too fast. here's some party pics, from the fmaily party and friend party....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Again, for Attila, the kitchen

Since Attila over at Cheaper than Therapy has been blaming me for her makeover of her house(and I've seen her husband's truck driving through the neighborhood wanting to "thank me"), I figured its also a good time to show the kitchen as well as the bathroom. The kitchen needed alot less, but what it got made a world of difference.

Again, our kitchen floor was like the bathroom, thats crappy school tiles, but in this case some of them were a new floor was laid by the inlaws.

The good news is, we had been slowly over the years replacing and adding. Last year a new flat top stove, and my father installed the hood. and the great thing was the cabinets were all in GREAT shape, so no need for the full makeover. But handles were added to everything as you can see. And paint. white trim and a nice light blue to the walls.....

Also the tile, which you can kinda see goes all the way up the hall. Decrative plates that were her grandmothers were hung. Again a nice shade of blue....

Lastly more cabinets! For more storage! There never is enough room. The inlaws had some cabinets they didnt want that matched. So we hung two up, you see one end table and peeking around the other side by the garbabe is another one.

As you see, a new floor, a coat of paint and some handles, decorations and new cabinets made all the difference. Coming soon, the dining room makeover.....

Saturday, March 03, 2007

For Attila, bathroom makeover

Couldnt get the stupid camera to cooperate forever, so I finally did. So for Attila, the finished bathroom.

As you see here in the last picture when we did the tub, you can get a glimce of the old bathroom, it had a raised area with the toilet. Bad wall paper that was peeling, titles like you'd see in a school(the cheap kind) and what you cant see is that rubberized wall backing around the sink, not pictured, as well as those a line of lights as light for that area, the kind you'd see in a dressing room.

So without further adue, the new bath room.(and sorry fellas, beyond Attila, your wives are probably going to nag you to redo the bathroom....)

Brand new tile floor. VERY nice tile floor, and as you can see, the raised area round the toilet is gone, making the bathroom have even MORE room.

Pictures, the far wall with the bathroom is tiled all the way around the window, and aroudn the sink and behind the shower, linking it to the tub. Half wall is painted a nice green, new towel rack. New wall paper and curtains.

Proabably cant see it well, but thats the new wall paper. With a new towel rack and some nice pictures...really smoothed the wall out nicely.

New pedalstal sink and toilet. As you see the tile continues...

The area above the sink. I picked out the color. They all wanted something darker, but the bathroom gets alot of light, so you didnt want something dark. Kim picked out the mirror ages ago, I loved it. A new light fixture to go with everything and more cabinets to replace the under the sink ones we lost.

Area around the sink. With a towel holder.....

So thats it, a complete bathroom make over. If you are all good, I show you the kitchen make over that was just done. Not as extensive, but makes the place look great! Next project is the steps.....