Saturday, January 20, 2007

[Auto Response: Long Island Dad will Return]

Friday, January 19, 2007


He wishes he had his brother's dimples...

The Countdown Begins

Now that the holidays and the kid’s birthdays are done, it’s time for the parents. The Mommy and I were actually married in September but celebrate our anniversary in January (the month we actually started dating.) We always try to do something special, but because finances tend to be short after the preceding events (and tax returns haven’t come in yet) we usually settle for some time alone. That’s right, time alone. No don’t adjust your sets… I really did just say that!

This year Nannie will be taking the children from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. Yes, even the 3 month old little man. Hey, she had five kids she knows what to do, right? RIGHT! The Helper loves going to Nannies’ and the feeling is definitely mutual. Though, after an extended stay he will call us and tell us to come and get him. I believe it’s because he misses us but to be honest with myself I really think it’s more that he misses his “stuff.”

Now comes the decision on what to do with our freedom; Movie and dinner out? Movie and dinner in? Movie in, dinner out? Movie out, dinner in? Oh, the choices are endless. Can you tell I’m filled with glee! We’ve actually been invited to some friends (who don’t have any little people) on Saturday night. They’re good friends so we’re probably going; a good time will definitely be had by all. The Mommy is actually off until next Wednesday, so this is a mini-vacation for all of us.

I will start doing a little “jig” by 8 p.m. tonight – No, no video will be produced! Exclusive adult time is so important; it clears our minds and rejuvenates our souls. It also gives us time to reflect on our jobs as parents.

A time for some introspection without, “DAAAAADY!” being called out every three minutes.

A time to remember why people fall in love in the first place.

A time to reflect on our successes and failures.

A time to enjoy some good company, good conversation and…

A time to miss our children!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

If It Were Only That Easy...

[Baby making 3 month old vocalizations in the background]

"DAAAADDY, the baby needs a bottle, HE's CRYIN'!"

"He's not crying, Honey, he's talking."

"He's not talkin', he's cryin', put a bottle in his mouth and he'll be quiet!"

If I could only still do that with you...

Cell Phones...A Parent's Dilemma or Dream?

Are the days of passing notes in the hall or during study hall gone?

Ever since the cell phone industry has started making their products extremely affordable, the issue concerning children and cell phones has grown. Schools are having problems balancing parental concerns and security issues. Some schools prohibit cell phone use (and actual possession) altogether. While some others just institute an “out of sight, out of mind policy.”

The issue is whether the use of these devices by children (anyone under 18 for the sake of this article), is for their convenience or ours? Even some of the most diligent parents who would never consider putting an internet enabled computer in their child’s room can be lulled into handing over a cell phone for their own piece of mind. While I certainly like the idea of being able to get in touch with my child at any time, what are the real advantages? And, what pitfalls should be avoided?

  • Disney Mobile (as well as some other companies) has introduced a cellular service that enables parents to track their child’s whereabouts by means of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and their home computer. Other phone manufacturers have started to design phones specifically for children. These phones contain certain parental controls that allow us the ability to prevent text-messaging, block web access or to dial only certain numbers. These features can definitely help us make the decision on whether or not to get our child a phone.

  • Besides the obvious element of distraction, cell phone use by children raises some other issues with educators and schools. A recent study found that 1 in 5 teenagers use the web to cheat. With most phones now having the ability to access web based functions the problem of cheating may increase. Especially, when parents (and teachers) may not be fully aware of a device’s capabilities. I would suggest every parent either receive complete detailed instructions from their dealer or read the phone’s instruction manual cover to cover before handing it over.

  • Another area that needs to be addressed when considering a cell phone for your child is cell phone etiquette. Are you a good example of cell phone etiquette to your children? Children need to learn what constitutes appropriate usage. There needs to be a clear set of rules in place before a child should ever receive this privilege. Also, parents should carefully review all bills and statements and question every unfamiliar number. I would suggest that a cell phone be treated like a loaned household item, not as the child’s personal property (even if they’re the ones who are paying for it). An item, which must be produced on demand, for review, or revocation.
  • Some Tips:

1. Regard cell phones as a privilege to be earned, and revoked as needed.

2. Research products and choose one that suits your and your child's needs and responsibility level.

3. Familiarize yourself with all the phone's features and operations.

4. Periodically check your child's phone for message content and for dialed and received calls.

5. Contact you child's school to find out their policy on phone use.

6. Review all cell phone bills for usage information.

7. Teach proper cell phone etiquette and set the example.

There’s certainly a lot to consider when making these decisions. We know our children best, we also know what’s best for them. We need to balance our own wants and needs with our child’s responsibility level. In an effort to provide a complete picture on this topic I’ve listed some great links below. Thanks for stopping by, any thoughts or comments?

Further Information On This Topic:

MSNBC Article: Cell Phones and Kids, Do They Mix?

Should We Ban Cell Phones In School? An NEA Article

Tracking Children Using GPS Cell Phones

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Sweet Smell Of Success

LektricShave – The Grandfather’s Scent, a young boy dreams of the day his first whisker will sprout.

Old Spice – The Father’s Scent, a young boy beginning a lifetime of facial hair removal uses this for the first time.

Calvin Klein, Halston, Aramis – The dancing, dating and decadence of the eighties.

Polo, Geoffrey Beene, Perry Ellis – Jobs are now careers, leather portfolios replace spiral notebooks and business cards take over for numbers on napkins.

Eau de Isomil – A sweet fragrant aroma that wafts throughout the house. Estate planning and 401K’s interfere with wide-eyed dreams. A clean T-Shirt = Luxurious Apparel. Nothing says sexy more than the odor of soy based infant formula.

"Go To Your Room!"

While I was correcting some rude behavior this morning the Helper responded with:

"Daddy, I'm going to my room now, DON'T FOLLOW ME!"

So much for using, "Go to your room!" as a future threat. Perhaps if there were no toys, no bed, no creature comforts... and no heat, it might return to the arsenal of behavior management tools.
He never ever slams his door though; the Mommy has made it quite clear, from the beginning, that if any child ever slammed a door to their room she would immediately instruct the Daddy to remove it... forever! A deterrent that has worked to this day. It is our belief that privacy under our roof is a privilege not a right!

I didn't follow, he returned five minutes later under his own power offering "an apology" for his previous behavior...

"Daddy, I'm not mad at you anymore!"

Why Is “Marriage” A Four Letter Word?

(Updated Below)

The battle against the so-called “Traditional Family Values” is increasing. When did it become politically incorrect to have a Mother, Father, and Child family unit? Please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying that one situation is any better than another. I know some single mothers who do a better job at raising a family than some of their dual parent counterparts. I also know some gay parents who provide a more loving, caring and supportive environment than some hetero couples. My issue stems from the “attacks,” if you will, on us “traditional” families.

Recently the media has been quick to applaud the efforts of different types of family models, while casting a disparaging light on Mother, Father, Child scenarios. And, that ugly concept of “marriage,” should only be used by women looking for a man to take care of them. I don’t know about you, but my wife did not marry me so I could “take care” of her. Far from it, she is more than capable of surviving and thriving with or without me. Women today certainly do not need male caretakers. But that doesn’t mean that marriage should be cast in a dirty light. People get married as a natural progression of their relationships. Not because they need to be recognized by some legal entity or validated by a religious faith. People get married to show a commitment to each other; some do it before God, and some before a judge. By doing it, they say, “I have chosen you. I love you. I am committed to us,” the union itself creates exclusivity.

A recent news piece on a national network highlighted single women deciding to have children without the presence of fathers. These are individual and very personal decisions. To have them presented on a national stage in opposition to Mother-Father scenarios, is just wrong.

Another piece touted the fact that a majority of women, 51%, are unmarried. This figure includes that fact that women tend to live longer then men, therefore widows are becoming a larger portion of the population. But, the focus of the piece was on women who are staying single by choice. Waiting longer to marry, and pursuing careers as an alternative. Most of the women interviewed did not rule out marriage, just that their priorities were different. I do applaud this, as it may reduce the divorce rate in this country, and may continue to reduce the wage disparity between men and women. As the father of a daughter, I wouldn't mind her waiting a while to "find the right man (or women)" while she pursues personal goals. Same holds true for my sons as well. But to create the sense that marriage is somehow not a worthwhile accomplishment is disheartening.

A person’s individual choice is just that, their choice. It’s not something that automatically puts them at odds with other’s choices. Through biased reporting tactics the “media” is creating a divisiveness that I believe is utterly irresponsible.

I live in a country where men and women are dying everyday to protect the freedoms that I enjoy. The freedom to make choices for one’s self. The freedom to decide what values work for me. And, yes, even the freedom of speech, the one I take full advantage of here. But, the memory of our fallen brothers and sisters should not be marred by a country pent on creating division among it citizenry, whatever the issue. I’m married, I’m a stay-at-home-parent, my children were not born out of wedlock, if that puts me at odds with the New World Order, so be it. It’s just my humble opinion.

Update: For some additional commentary and discussion on this topic please see Inside Fatherhood's follow-up to this piece.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Day That Changed My Life... Forever.

Twelve years ago, today, a little girl changed my life.

Four years ago, today, a little boy changed it again.

If life is a compilation of events, for me, these two are in the top four. There are very few events that we recall with such clarity; the anticipation, the preparation, the uneasiness, the joy, the smells, the sights and the sounds. Like a video in HD these pictures are as sharp today as they were when they happened.

The Girl started middle school this year, sixth grade; changing classes, lockers, and new friends. And, BOYS aren’t disgusting anymore! *Sigh*

The Helper has honed so many skills; he is indeed my “little MAN.”

I have one more shot with the Baby, I cherish every second with him. Because I know, one day, GIRLS won’t have “cooties” and I’ll just become “my Old Man.”

There’s a brief moment in time that most father’s can relate too; it’s the time you first get to hold your child. For a lot of us, we get to hold our children even before the Mommies. They are usually otherwise occupied immediately after child birth. I was lucky enough to hold all my children for a fifteen to twenty minute period while Mommy was being tended to. I got to talk to them, hug them, and make them promises I’ve continued to keep.

My skills, or lack of, as a parent, will carry over from generation to generation. My children will rear their children based on the example I have set, and so on and so forth. I will continue to strive for “Wise Old Man” status and diminish the tendency toward “Babbling Fool.”

Happy Birthday my beautiful children!

May I continue to fill your days with happiness and joy, love and respect, knowledge and wisdom, and most of all Hope!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Brothers In Arms

A Digital Water Color Image - Thanks to HP Photosmart Premier.

Things A Man Should Know...

I have to give credit to our friend Steve at Inside Fatherhood for this one. It was so good I wanted to post it here too. Thanks to MSN Lifestyle: Men for this one, Things A Man Should Know: About Fatherhood. For the complete list CLICK HERE.

Heres a sample:

  • Don't worry, your dad didn't know what he was doing, either.

  • No, no--not that Spock!

  • Second thought, maybe you should worry.

  • Never tell anybody where your child was conceived, how long it took, or what song was playing.

  • Do not name your baby after cities, geographical points of interest, features of the solar system, seasons, plants, animals, or current television stars.

  • Your child, at birth, already has a deeply complicated relationship with his mother, and, for the first year, you are only a curiosity.
    For a couple of years after that, an amusement-park ride.
    Then, a referee.
    And finally, a bank.

  • If you want to subject your son to the unkindest cut, insist on a local anesthetic, since many pediatricians don't bother to use one.
    The anesthetic is for the kid.

  • Reason boys are better: They cannot get pregnant.

Expletive Deleted

While preparing for yesterday’s activities, I was the victim of a serious plot against my health and well being. After a shower, I was proceeding to our bedroom, rather quickly. On my way, I tried to move a door jamb with my foot. The house is over a hundred years old so I really can’t blame what happened next on anything but my own stupidity. Crack, snap, pop, [Expletive Deleted x6], yes, it’s broken. My little toe on my left foot lost its brief battle with the sturdy hundred year old building. This little piggy will not be going to market any time soon.

While this may sound extremely painful… it IS. The worst part -- it’s the 3rd time in five years that I’ve broken this exact toe -- doing the exact same thing. You’d think I’d learn… you’d be wrong. So I was able to hobble through the Helper’s party without much incident. But, when it came time for the aforementioned dancing portion, needless to say I did not participate, for fear my screeching would be heard over the Rascal Flatts at 100 watts.

For the next week or so, every step I take will be a constant reminder to strictly enforce the “No Running In The House Rule,” and “Stupid Is, As Stupid Does.” Hopefully, I will learn this time… probably not. If anyone would like to start a pool for the next eighteen months, please feel free, I have a couple of dates I’d like to buy!

A Good Time Was Had By All

The Helper wants to thank all of you for your birthday wishes! He had a great time, as predicted. We ate, ate and ate, again! One of the advantages of Mommy's career is that, occasionally, we benefit from her years of experience. Mommy is a fantastic chef... Chicken Francaise at a child's birthday, who knew? The Helper only eats about ten things so the meal was for us adults... he didn't care though -- presents were his fuel.

Helper-ism of the Day:
(Immediately prior to the big event's commencement.)

"Many, many, many (8-10 in all) people will be coming and we'll dance! We'll put on 'Life Is A Highway' and dance."

That boy really knows how to have a good time! Yes, there was dancing, but not by yours truly. His Godmother and our good friend Erica danced with the boy for an hour, after most of the guests departed. (Faithful readers will remember these are the two people who took him to see Santa at the mall -- such good friends.) One advantage of having your computer tied to your whole house entertainment system is being able to customize the musical mood. Though, my iTunes playcount for "Life Is A Highway" is now 65, the Helper has been asleep for 14 straight hours. The boy certainly knows how to party... and he didn't even have any of Mommy's exquisite Margarita's. Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

For My Son...

He’s Another Year Older
By Long Island Dad

He’s another year older,
He’s learned so much.

He’s another year older,
We celebrate in a bunch.

He’s another year older,
Time flies by.

He’s another year older,
I want to cry.

He’s another year older,
Still more ahead.

He’s another year older,
More fears to dread.

He’s another year older,
He’s brought so much Joy.

He’s another year older,
Thank God he’s my Boy!

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved

A Party for Me?

The "big day" has finally arrived. Food's been purchased, house has been cleaned and "Cars" party accessories will adorn the festivities.
My little baby boy is no longer little. He walks, he talks, he washes dishes, he carries on adult conversations. He's funny, he's cute, he's perfect and... he's another year older. Ah, Father Time sometimes you're a cruel, cruel man.
While is the bathroom last night, the Mommy decided to remind the Helper that his party was today...

"A party for MEEEEE?!? Don't forget to say surprise!," the Helper exclaimed.

It's not a surprise party, folks. Who could keep a surprise from a 4 year old, especially when he went along to shop for the party favors. It's just his way of showing appreciation for our efforts.

I Love Him So!

For those who are interested, I will post a brief synopsis of the big event, perhaps with a few pics., and any "Helper-isms" that might come up. It's still early and I have coffee to drink before some final "touch-ups." You know, kids and all.

Thanks for the visit, see you soon!