The Man That Rocks The Cradle

It feels like its been a year since my last blog post. It has been a year since I last punched a clock. It was this week in 2014 that I officially became a stay-at-home Dad. For the past year I’ve lived primarily in sweatpants and cargo shorts. I usually shower well after midday, and rarely shave more than twice a month. While this may sound like a slacker’s wet dream it is far more work than it seems. It took a long time to get used to what turned out to be a pretty extreme lifestyle adjustment.

When I talk to older men I am often asked, “Do you change diapers?” Are there fathers out there that don’t? In my head I have a quick-witted response along the lines of, “Faster than a pit crew changes tires” or “I wipe Donny’s butt cleaner than a fat kid licks his plate!” But what comes out is usually a hushed and nervous sounding, “Me? Oh yeah, it’s no big deal.” I hate that question because the one that usually follows is, “What do you do for work?” or “How’s the job going?” When I tell them that I stay home it comes out sounding quiet, ashamed, and embarrassed. The only reason is because I, like so many, hold this misguided stigma about men who stay home and have the audacity to personally raise their children. “That’s women’s work!” “It’s unnatural!” Unnatural? Taking care of my kid??? Penguins do it, why can’t I? It took almost a full year to accept that I could be more to my family than a paycheck. That I could trade in my 40 hour work week for a 168 hour one. That I could strive to be the foundation of my family. That was then and this is now. I have finally embraced the role that life has led me to. I have found the self-worth that initially escaped me. That sounds silly to me, now. My old job sucked! I had somehow brainwashed myself into thinking it was better than the amazing opportunity MM had given me. The work I do today will actually have an impact on someone’s life. The work I do now has a chance to change the world! For better or for worse. I have a kid and I get to raise him MY way. The control freak in me loves that.

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Mommy Moneybags(MM) has on numerous occasions said to me, “I don’t know how you do it. I don’t think I could.” And she’s right, I don’t think she could do what I do. The level of patience and sanity needed is inhuman. I can barely do it. I’m constantly exhausted and hungry. Repeatedly hauling 30lbs of squirming screaming baby up the stairs while trying to ignore the thick scent of urine and poop. Then dragging the remaining 28lbs of a slapping kicking child back down the stairs in hopes that he’ll sit still long enough for Dad to add three sentences to his blog.

The house is usually a mine field of rubber balls, Blu-ray discs, and razor-sharp Lego’s. Spending my days in an obstacle course, snacking on cheez-its, and being bombarded by a toxic scent doesn’t always leave me at my sharpest. Slip ups happen all the time. If MM only knew some of the things that have gone down without her knowledge. For instance, Donny rolled off of our bed when he was just a baby…twice…and once off the futon! It feels good to get that off my chest. While I’m at it, he also fell down the stairs. (If you never hear from me again MM should be your prime suspect.) Sometimes when Donny is running through the house and falls I simply let him lay there and cry. Not all the time but there are moments when I wait for him to get up, dust himself off, and calm himself down without Daddy’s help.

That’s what I really enjoy about being a stay-at-home Dad. Parenting MY way. Our days consist of less PBS, more ESPN. Less soothing nurture, more ill-advised adventures. Under my watch Donny will learn to pee standing up before most boys his age. I may be doing the work that is traditionally performed by Mom, but I can’t ever be her. It’s simply not in my DNA. There is no such thing as Mr. Mom. Just a Dad and his son. A man and his boy.

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THREE  THINGS:

  1. Thing I learned today – Several male animal species take care of their young. Among them are the Red Fox, Barking Frog, Seahorse, Horned Owl, Homosapian, and of course the mighty Emperor Penguin.
  2. There are two sides to every story. As much as a role reversal this might be for me, its even more so for MM. And she’s performing beautifully in her role.
  3. Sports Minute – For the first time in my lifetime I am a proud fan of the best basketball team in the NBA. Go Dubs!

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the thirteenth Daddy Day By Day. I’ve picked up some new followers as of late which has been very exciting. Thank You. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. Please click on one of the two “follow my blog” links on the right. For you mobile users the links are at the bottom of the page. Talk to you soon…

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Iesha

Have you ever tuned into the Discovery Channel or National Geographic and watched a crocodile hunt? They are very sneaky creatures. Their prey seldom ever see them coming. One minute you’re with the fellas sipping water by the pond, telling jokes, flirting with the ladies, the next minute you’re spinning around underwater with your head down some crocks throat. Whether Iesha had been underneath the entire time or ran over when I wasn’t paying attention remains a mystery to me. Before she practically appeared out of thin air we were all smiles. I picked Donny up and placed him on top of the slide and nervously let go. He slid slowly bouncing off the walls violently thrashing side to side and finishing his awkward tumble back to earth with a smile. Success. He demanded another ride and I obliged. The slide we were playing on was a two person slide with a plastic barrier in-between.  This time when we made it up to the top there was another child his age. A girl! She wasn’t much of a looker to be honest. Then again I met my wife unshaven and hungover trying to push through a morning shift at work. Maybe the little girl, like myself, cleaned up nice. She wasn’t much of a fashionista either. Some weird ruffled top paired with flower spotted pants. Why do we dress our kids up in such odd attire? Clothing we wouldn’t be caught dead in? Now you may be thinking, would you Daddy Donnell rock the Charlie Brown costume/shirt in public that you’ve forced onto your son? The answer is: hell no. But he can pull it off. Back to Donny and my future daughter-in-law; they made long eye contact. At least 8 seconds which is a creepy amount of time to be making eye contact with someone and not talking. Go ahead and stare at the person nearest you and count out 8 seconds in your head. The other person will probably complain. I did it to my wife,  Mommy Moneybags(MM), and she even thought something was wrong with me. My instinct was to try and give him some fatherly advice on dating and how to talk to girls. Rock solid advice like, look open and friendly, smile, be casual, try putting your hand on your hip, wear khakis. I’m really not very good at this. I decided it would be better for me to just step aside and let him work his magic. Right as he began to introduce himself he slowly began to lose his battle with gravity and went tumbling down the slide. All was not lost. She was still there. Perhaps waiting for him to come back? She even seemed to be giggling at him. He made her laugh! Smooth move my boy! I picked him up dusted him off and began to return him to the top of the slide beside her. As we reached the summit she appeared. Iesha. Like a crocodile rising out of the river. Ready to devour his game. She was a big kid and mean looking. Snarling and gashing her teeth. Even Donny’s poorly dressed friend seemed frightened. Seeing as we had just gone down the slide it seemed only fair to me that Donny stand to the side and allow the new kid to go down. That’s only fair, right? We should teach our children to share, right? So we did. And down she went laughing all the way. Seeing as there were no other children in line Donny retook his place at the top and prepared to go down. When I looked down I noticed Iesha still in his way. Not only was she still at the bottom of the slide, she was climbing up. I was faced with a choice: I could A) Send Donny down the slide like a bowling ball forcibly clearing the blonde haired pin to the ground. This option, though appealing to me, could end up causing physical harm to my own kid as well as the child of this absent parent. Or B) I could simply pick Donny up and move on. I choose C) Defiance! I did not move Donny. I made sure he blocked her way. But she keep coming up not allowing him to slide down. I politely (in my opinion) asked her to share the slide.

“Hi, don’t you think it’s time to let someone else go down the slide?”

“NO!” she yelled.

Did this CHILD just tell me “no”? I’m the adult damnit! She’s lucky I asked at all.

“Shouldn’t you be going down the slide? I think it’s someone else’s turn”

“___” She ignored me.

I frantically searched around for the 2-3 Neanderthals that conceived yet another bad creation. There was no one to be found. MM was the only other adult in sight. I could feel my blood pressure rise and decided the best thing to do was to go with option B. In fact I was so irritated by this whole exchange that I picked up my son and left the playground.

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I don’t like children. Never have. I always knew I’d eventually end up with a kid of my own but as I grew older the thought of it became more and more unattractive. I hadn’t even held a baby until I had my own. Actually that’s not true. I held my friend Hollywood’s new-born a day after he was born. Donny was due less than a month after that so it felt right. Like I was already a father. For the first time in my life I wanted to hold a baby. But now I’m forced to interact with children and I’m reminded of why I never liked them in the first place. However, I can’t simply blame the child anymore. They’ll only do what they are allowed to do. I used to work in a restaurant and one time I had to tell three young boys to stop showing their penises to two women trying to enjoy their lunch. They were eating sausage sandwiches ironically enough. Where were the parents? Sitting a few feet away more concerned with socializing with each other than paying attention to their flashing kids. After I told the parents what was happening there was no spanking, no stern talking to, no timeout. Not even a extra buck on the tip for having to see their kid’s dick! This wasn’t some rare example of parents not watching their kids. It happened all time. The nudity part was rare. Now, that I have a son of my own I beginning to realize something, I still hate kids. And by kids, I mean parents.

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THREE  THINGS:

  1. Thing I learned today – The phone number for poison control is 1-800-222-1222. The operators are very nice. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste™ is non-toxic. I will say no more.
  2. I don’t understand behavior timeouts. Our dog trainer told us to give our dog Domino timeouts when he behaves poorly. So far they have been completely ineffective. In fact, I think he enjoys it. He’s a bad dog. Bad dog.
  3. Sports Minute – You know what’s cool about your favorite football team being 0-9? NOT A DAMN THING!

***BONUS THING:

I just wrote a blog about parents not paying enough attention to their kids. I then followed that up with the fact that I needed the phone number for poison control. Talk about calling the kettle black.

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/the-surprising-reason-more-kids-are-getting-hurt-at-the-102543542767.html

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the eleventh Daddy Day By Day. Please take a peek at the article posted above. Excellent food for thought and just in time for this blog post. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. Please click on one of the two “follow my blog” links on the right. For you mobile users the links are at the bottom of the page. Talk to you soon…

Where’s Ya Little Boy

…He was gone. 2 days ago, if you had told me this would happen I would have assumed that I would panic. Instead I was calm. Very calm. I think my heart rate slowed down. My stomach dropped down into my bowels. All the chaos around me turned to muted white noise. Similar to when your wife grabs you by the neck and forces your head under the lake water because you just lost her first-born like a set of #&$%ing car keys.

“Well where is he?”

“Gee, I don’t know honey, I thought I left him in my gym shorts.”

Before I turned to inform my wife of the tragedies, one of which was unfolding in my pants, I pictured Donny in my mind one last time. His expressions are what I’ll always remember about him.

IMG_2529  After only a few months in my care he knew I would eventually do something stupid. I bet he was thinking, “I wonder how Dad will screw this up”

IMG_2832Months later the realization was starting to kick in, “This guy is in way over his head.”

IMG_2720“You just lost me???”

It was time to face the music. I turned to MM and she was already in my face. Her left arm was fully extended. It felt like the slap was coming at me in slow motion. I didn’t fight it. I certainly earned a beatdown. I accepted my fate and prepared to receive the initial slap. Would it be a high placed palm slap? Somewhere in the temple area? That would be smart of her because it would probably knock me out cold thus allowing her to drag my limp body over to the lake and drown me with little to no resistance. Or would it be a lower placed finger slap to the cheek and mouth area? Another excellent choice. Those slaps are highly stingy for the dummy with a satisfying audio and visual element. The echoing smack of skin on skin contact coinciding with the sight of my face jerking 45 degrees away as spit mixed with stupid exits my mouth. I closed my eyes and waited for it. And kept waiting for it. It never came. I opened one eye just to see what was taking so long. At the end of her out stretched arm was her pointed index finger. I could tell she was still wearing her wedding ring which I took as a good sign so I opened my other eye and unclenched my teeth. She was pointing to our son. I nearly choked on all the oxygen rushing back into my lungs. I vaguely remember doves flying into the heavens. MM was pointing and laughing at his eagerness to go and play. He couldn’t wait to go and touch new things. I couldn’t wait to go and put on new underwear. Instead MM pulled me to catch up to him which turned out to only be roughly 15 or 20 feet in front of us. He didn’t know where to go at first. He just kept walking in circles. Which I thought was funny until I realized I was doing the exact same thing. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Do I follow him everywhere or is that being the paranoid overprotective parent? Do I sit and let him do his thing or is that being irresponsible and not present? Should I join the three parents sitting on the bench enjoying the FREE WIFI on their phones and tablets? This was almost as awkward as when I tried to talk to girls in my single days.

Do I look cool and inviting?

Should I put my hand in my pocket or on my hip?

On my hip???

Do I dip my chin down to show that I’m paying attention?

Now do I look creepy and possessive?

What if I tilt my chin up like I’m cool? Yeah, like a rapper. Like i’m part of the Wu

…wearing khakis.

As you can tell I sucked at dating. How I got MM to come home with me after our first date is one of the great mysteries of the cosmos. I digress, instead of joining the three blind mice at the bench I decided to stick with Donny and follow his every step. Donny was pretty aimless and it was a little dangerous considering children were literally running in all directions playing with everything. MM decided we should put him on the slide. A brilliant idea. It was a small specific area and up away from all the foot traffic. Donny had never gone down a slide before. A new experience for him! This would be fun, or at least I thought. Little did I know that underneath that slide lurked, Iesha…
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He’s always so serious

THREE  THINGS:

  1. Thing I learned today – That a congress with a 10% approval rating can achieve a 90% re-election rate. It’s truly fascinating.
  2. Yes I put the Wifey on blast up there. Sure nothing happened that night but something did happen that night. I found my wife who gifted me with my son. Trust your gut, especially when everyone else says you shouldn’t do something.
  3. Sports Minute – Football season is officially dead. To me. But how about the hot start my Golden State Warriors are off too. They’re coming for you San Antonio. There will be changing of the guard this season. Accept it Monique!

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the ninth Daddy Day By Day. This was a continuation of blog entry 8. As you can tell there is more to this story coming soon. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. Please click on one of the two “follow my blog” links on the right. For you mobile users the links are at the bottom of the page. Talk to you soon…

Hail To The Thief

I snapped today. I completely lost control. My blood pressure was through the roof and before I could get ahold of myself my hands were firmly placed on the shoulders of a 18 month old. My teeth were clenched and my eyes were like dark daggers piercing into his young soul. The child’s father applied a chokehold around my neck as the baby gym workers all crowded around imploring me, begging me to release the little boy.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.

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The new trendy way to separate parents from their hard-earned money are kiddie gyms. This place in-particular is called, My Gym. My 10 month old has a personal trainer. They have fitness classes for children as young as 6 weeks. 6 weeks! Ludicrous if you ask me. At that age Donny’s neck was still weak and floppy like a bobblehead doll. Yet there I was sitting on their soft new carpet watching my son cling to a squishy blue ball for dear life. Around us, there were four or five other children. All but one was older than Donny. They were running, screaming, climbing walls, and just having fun. Donny stared at them, surely wondering what fun it must be to be a big kid. The cool kind of big kid. Not the one with back pain and a mortgage. Then one of them approached. He ran at us actually. As he quickly closed in on us my heart rate picked up, I started to fidget. Even tremble a little with excitement. This was going to be Donny’s first friend. I started daydreaming of them playing little league baseball together. Chasing down the ice cream truck on their bikes. Posing for pictures with their prom dates on the front lawn in front of a gray-haired Mommy Moneybags(MM) and myself. When the little boy reached us he extended his hand to Donny. “What a nice boy,” I thought. “So well-mannered and…HEY!” He just stole the ball from my son! And now he’s running away! Donny and I sat there stunned. Donny stared at me waiting for me to do something. I’m Daddy. I’m suppose to be all-powerful. My innocent and misinformed son sees me as the king of the world. Someone had just stolen something from the prince. I had two options. 1. Get him another ball. Probably an inferior ball. Not as soft and blue. It had to be a blue ball to match his eyes. He’s a flirt like that. Or 2. March over there and crudely snatch the blue ball back. From a 18 month old, or maybe he was 2. Heck, maybe he was 3. I can’t tell these days because Donny is so much bigger than most 10 month olds. Before I could figure out what to do the boys parents returned with the blue ball, an apology, and that boy dragging his feet behind them. I accepted the apology and Donny was happy once again. Minutes later that boy returned. This time it was a sneak attack from behind. He crept up out of nowhere. Quickly flying around my shoulder and plopping down in front of Donny. He snatched the blue ball again. “You little motherf…” I thought. But this time his parents descended on him immediately. Reprimanding him and explaining that you can’t just take things from other people (looking at you, Putin). Once again Donny seemed content to just sit there with his blue ball. The other child ran around with an orange one. Both kids seemed satisfied with their current toys so I began to daydream again, this time about lunch. A salad? In-N-Out? I was so deep into my thoughts of an midafternoon stack of pancakes that I never saw that boy approaching. He snuck up slow and quiet, like a thieving little samurai. The orange ball still in hand. Optimistically I thought he had come over to propose a trade. A chance for me to teach Donny a quick lesson on bartering. That was not the case. One ball wasn’t enough for the child. He wanted to horde. As he grasped onto the blue ball that Donny held onto so tightly, I snapped. So here we are, my hands firmly shaking this bully’s shoulders, his father’s arms around my neck, the trainers pleading with me to release the poor child. Everything started to go black as my brain struggled for oxygen. All I could hear was, “BILLY NO”. My extreme hunger combined with general fatherhood exhaustion had my mind playin` tricks on me. In reality, as soon as Billy touched the blue ball his mother and father we’re on each side of him to correct his behavior. Confrontation averted. It was time to go and get something to eat.

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I think I’ve said this before, my goal as a father is to raise a child that is happy. I’m also trying to raise Donny to be a positive influence on his environment and the world as a whole. No one person is too small. But I wonder if there is such a thing as a bad seed? A born problem child? Or is it all on the parents and the decisions they make while raising the child. The easy answer is yes. However, I’m learning that there is no such thing as “easy” when it comes to raising a child. And I’m only at the baby stage! I think Billy’s parents are great. They allow him to roam and be a kid but are quick to correct and guide him every time he does something they don’t approve of. Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker,

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Donny is a big kid. He’ll probably be bigger then most kids his age. If I don’t lead him in the right way he could develop bully tendencies. And under the right circumstances, that could be bad for everyone…still looking at you, Putin.

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THREE  THINGS:

  1. Thing I learned today – I have no idea how to react to the behavior of other people’s children. When Billy first took the ball away from my son I really was at a bit of a loss. How do you discipline a stranger’s child? Can you? You can’t just allow other people’s kids to take things away from your child without consequence. What if the other parent gets mad at your reaction because they see their child as perfect? Do you argue and fight? In front of your kid??? AUGHH. This parenting thing is getting more complicated everyday.
  2. The response off of my previous blog post has been overwhelmingly positive. I would just like to say THANK YOU. Thank you to all of you for the encouragement. When I decided to start blogging I didn’t anticipate how exposed it would make me feel. More and more I feel encouraged to open up even further.
  3. Sports Minute – I should just start calling this the Raiders minute until January. First preseason game is in the books. The offense was just that, offensive. But the running backs looked good. Hopefully it was just first game jitters. Lots of new faces, lots of chemistry to build.

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the sixth edition of Daddy Day By Day. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. Please click on one of the two “follow my blog” links on the right. For you mobile users the links are at the bottom of the page. I promise to try to keep you entertained to the very best of my abilities. Talk to you soon…

Ebony & Ivory

IMG_3373                          “Is he yours?”

This question came from our new housekeeper. “Why is he so white?” That was posed to me by a coworker. “Can you believe this is his baby?” That beauty was uttered by a family member as she presented my son to her friend. This in small part has been my fatherhood experience. I’ve tried my very best not to let statements such as these bother me but how do you react when someone asks whether or not your son is yours? Or whether or not your wife is white? As if it matters. Or as if it is even a possibility that she couldn’t be. Look at the boy! As frustrating as it can be to navigate through these conversations I must remember to focus on the important things. The things I need to learn immediately to raise and protect my very awesome and pale child. Two things in particular stand out to me.

Sunscreen. I know nothing about sunscreen. What isle is it on at Walgreen’s? What’s the better brand, Copperstone or Banana Boat? What does SPF stand for? MM has continued our vegetarian cloth diapering hippie style child raising way by buying him vegan sunscreen. Seriously. It’s fragrance free, vegan, contains no gluten, soy, oat or dairy. Is that stuff usually in there?!? Sunscreen sounds delicious. It also does not contain any harmful chemicals as defined by the EWG. MM is smart and does her research so I’ll have to trust that this is good stuff. It better be for the ransom they charge. That 6 ounce bottle of sunshine repellent cost about as much money as it takes to run this blog. It’s so rich that when I put it on him he resembles a wet powdered donut. I’m probably putting too much on him but I can’t help it. I’m paranoid. I’ve never had to think about skin damage from the hot sun. As I discover more information I’m learning that I should be more mindful of it. According to the Skin Cancer foundation, in African American skin, melanin, provides a sun protection factor equivalent to 13.4 compared to 3.4 in white skin. 3.4? That’s almost nothing at all. Needless to say I worry about the sun damage to his skin far more than I’ve ever worried about mine.

IMG_4538       Another big difference between he and I is our hair.

Look at it. It’s like a second child. Totally wild and independent of the kid it rides on. When he was born it was long and flat. Easy to manage. As he has gotten older, long thick looping curls have emerged. His hair is starting to become the perfect blend of me and his mother’s hair. But now what? I’ve never had hair like his. I don’t know what to do. I’ve never had to deal with curls this long. Mine are nice and tight. Wavy on a good day. My hair does what it’s told. When I get a haircut my hair will obey me for at least 5 or 6 days with minimal maintenance. His hair is different every morning. It tangles and snags on the teeth of the comb. There’s a section in the back that refuses to lay down. Then there’s the issue of getting it cut. Where do I take him? We can’t go to my barber. My barber is highly skilled and trained in all the latest styles and techniques of fine Black male grooming. He is an artist. When Saturday rolls around he becomes Michelangelo and my head the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But that’s my hair. What about Donny? Has my barber ever cut a loose curled brunette like my son. It might be equivalent to asking Larry the cable guy to read Tagalog. And don’t even get me started on style. When I was a kid I rocked a hightop fade. I couldn’t possibly shame him like that. Not in 2014.

Sunscreen, hair, Black G.I. Joe vs. White ones. Very small and insignificant things to figure out. To be honest I’m not that worried about it. What I really think about are the questions he will undoubtedly begin to ask. Questions about his own identity. “Why is Mommy white? Why is Daddy Black? Why are you `different`? What am I?” The truth is he’s neither. He’s human. He’s an individual. The only one of his kind. He’s a being with a brain, a heart, and emotions. Capable of deciding to be whatever or whoever he wants to be. The world will always try to categorize him and file him as a certain “type.” For no other reason than, that’s the way it’s always been. I always hoped that it would be my generation who would change that. However, some days I feel we have moved backwards. Perhaps his generation will finally be the one to remove all the labels and skin color bull– and see each other as what we truly are. People. All struggling and fighting to attain the same thing, happiness. If he must be labeled in some way that the world will understand then like his mother and father he is an American. In nationality and ethnicity. “Mixed” is the way you describe a cake. Not a beautiful baby boy with all the potential in the world.

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THREE THINGS:

  1.  Thing I learned today – Did you see it up there?!? Sun Protection Factor. SPF!
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  3. Sports Minute – FOOTBALL SEASON IS ALMOST HERE. I know its fake football but I still love the preseason. So much hope and enthusiasm. When you’re a Raiders fan hope is all you got. Time to get Donny a new set of Raiders pajamas.

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the fifth edition of Daddy Day By Day. Already working on the next one; Donny’s first bully experience. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. And please follow my blog. I’d really appreciate it. Talk to you soon…

Shots! Shots! Shots!

Like any first time father I am completely in awe of my son. I think he’s good-looking, funny, and a very quick learner. One of his more impressive qualities is his ability to “chill”. To just “kick it”. It’s one of the qualities that made me fall in love with Mommy Moneybags(MM). But let’s be honest, he gets it from his daddy. He seems to adapt well to whatever environment he finds himself in. As long as it’s not his Aunt Skegee’s house. Donny likes to save his crying fits for the date nights that she babysits. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to mind. His amazing adaptation skills were on full display when we took him to a bar. Before you judge, I didn’t know it was a bar at first. A good friend of mine was celebrating his birthday at a nice spot down by the beach. Just a few steps away from the sand. He knew I would have my son with me so I assumed he was inviting us to meet him at a classy respectable establishment. Where children were free to run and play while their parents smiled, drank tea, and paid limited attention to them. Like a Chuck E. Cheese’s or Target. My friend’s parents were even going to be there. Like everything else at a beach, parking was expensive and a pain. In the parking lot it was a struggle to dodge all the assorted beachbums. Surfers, dreadheads, and bikers were everywhere. One hippie after another continued to stagger out in front my car as I searched for a spot. When we finally made it to the restaurant I had no hesitation going inside. It looked like a restaurant. There were tables outside, people were eating, children were smiling, dogs were begging. Then we went inside. It was noisy, crowded, and had a huge bar in the middle with lots of obscure sounding beers on tap. What good restaurant doesn’t have these things? I quickly found my buddy with his parents and the conversation and laughter began. By the time MM realized that we were in fact in a bar it was too late to leave. I had already ordered a burger and had a cold beer in hand. I was commited. My first instinct was to leave. I thought Donny couldn’t possibly be enjoying himself here. But when I really stopped to see how he was responding everything seemed ok. It was a beautiful day, we were by the beach, and Donny had already adapted to the bar scene. MM and I took turns holding Donny while sharing a scrumptious black bean burger and beer. Naturally my boy was hamming it up. Flirting with every woman who walked by. Flashing his signature grin and staring with his pretty eyes that seem to charm everyone he meets. It was turning out to be a really nice afternoon. A relaxing sunday with friends. Plus I had an excellent little flirty charming…umm…buddy with me. MM would prefer I not think of him as a wingman. However, there was one misstep. As the noise level grew we decided to go ahead and retire to the beach. As I waited to pay and tip our polite and hardworking waiter MM decided to take Donny outside. That’s when he lost his cool. Like a drunken frat boy Donny reached out and grabbed the hair of the prettiest girl he saw. He yanked and wouldn’t let go. How could I have let this happen? How could I let so much time pass without teaching him the finer points of being a gentleman. At least the basics; Compliment her dress, be polite to her parents, never grab her hair. But it was too late. The deed was done. The only thing left to do was walk over and take one for the team. The impending open-handed slap across the face. As I started toward them I could see her turn around to confront her attacker. To stare into the eyes of this brute whose father had clearly failed to teach him any manners. She turned and peered deeply into his bright blue eyes while simultaneously slowly turning into mush. Seconds later it was all giggles and baby talk. She thought it was adorable! Man, this kid gets away with everything.

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When I reflect on that afternoon, I do think of all the life lessons there are to teach him. There are so many that I fear I’ll never have time to teach him all that I know. In this case, how to treat the opposite sex. I made plenty of mistakes when I was young. Mistakes that could have easily been prevented. Perhaps with guidance and knowledge as well as setting expectations for his behavior, he won’t make those same mistakes. We’ll start with the basics. When we are out we shall always hold the door and let MM enter first. We’ll introduce ourselves confidently with a smile and a handshake. And we will NEVER EVER freely yank on a woman’s hair.

THREE THINGS:

  1. Thing I learned today – There’s this growing opinion that double spacing after periods is incorrect and unnecessary. I’ve even heard it described as rude. But it’s what I’ve always been told. Sold to me as truth. I decided to try it for this post. It feels so wrong. Do any of you have an opinion on this rising controversy?
  2. MM and I never fight. Seriously we don’t. We didn’t decide not to ever fight, we just don’t. It’s pretty cool. However, there is something brewing. A possible rift between us…over apple juice. Lately the room has chilled whenever those two words are uttered. Maybe I’ll write about it in further detail.
  3. Sports Minute – I owe an apology to Jurgen Klinsmann and the US men’s soccer team. At times they played pretty good. There were some bad mistakes but overall I thought they looked good. They still only went 1-2-1 but it gives me hope for the future of US soccer.

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the fourth edition of Daddy Day By Day. A very delayed post due to the World Cup. I have a serious sports addiction. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. Talk to you soon…