Editor's Note: Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y, kicks off a week-long celebration of "Summer in Our City Dads Group Cities." Each weekday, we'll highlight a family fun spot or activity in one or two of the 11 U.S. locations of City Dads Groups. As a boy growing up in Brooklyn, I always enjoyed trips to Coney Island. While the area has had its share of ups and downs and was recently hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, there is still something special about it. There's nothing like walking down a seaside boardwalk and seeing attractions like Deno's Wonder Wheel (built in 1920) or the Cyclone roller … [Read more...]
The oldest child in our house is turning 8. This shouldn't seem like that big of a deal.
It’s still single digits. Our state and federal governments confer no additional privileges upon 8-year-olds. She won’t change schools. It should just be another number signifying that she’s still a decade away from moving out (i.e., not soon). Right?
Not to me.
In 1983 – the year I turned 8 – was huge. In a way, it was the beginning of my childhood.
Tuesday was one of those days. My smile was a facade, it was there, but wasn't as wide, or bright or authentic, as it usually is. At one point, my daughter even asked me why I wasn't goofing around as much as I usually do.
I was grumpy. I had a bad case of the grown-ups.
I'm not going to trouble you with the details, partially because I'm not sure what the particulars actually were, but I was stressed and fixated on things both in and out of my control. And at one point, I started getting stressed about … [Read more...]
Today in my house, we learned a lesson. If you don't want to clean that shit up, don't do that shit. We have a set of plastic bins from Target to help with cleaning up and organizing. Don't mean to brag. We have a set of colorful plastic bins from Target in which a lot of the kids' smaller toys are stored. Blocks, dolls, fake food and plates, old pay-as-you-go cell phones, poker chips, empty cigarette boxes, bottle caps, three-penny nails, mercury. You know. I heard the sound of thousands of tiny plastic pieces hitting a hardwood floor. "Are you dumping out the bins?" I asked … [Read more...]
For busy parents like us, it helps to have a toolbox we can take with us wherever we go. This is why I put together my "Summer Survival Kit." All the products below can be thrown in a bag and taken wherever you go. I have personally tested them and found they have saved time, energy or just made my life easier. I have included links to find further info on the products and where to buy them. A Parent's Summer Survival Kit Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments by Mike Adamick. Have this book ready to cure those long days when the kids are complaining they're bored. This book … [Read more...]
We walked through the store at the Bronx Zoo and sat my son’s pacifier on the shelf. Gripping his new stuffed gorilla tightly and sporting a quivering lower lip, he waved goodbye to the thing that had comforted him on so many nights and so many upsetting moments.
With a sad heart, I too turned my back on my old comforting friend and walked toward the cash register.
If you have a child using a pacifier, you know it can be the greatest tool in your parental utility belt. … [Read more...]
So far, I think I am winning summer. In less than a week, we have: gone to a baseball game, seen fireworks, made s’mores, camped outside, grilled multiple times, played in the pool, played in the rain, played video games, written journals, read books, seen How to Train Your Dragon 2, gone to gymnastics, started swim class, and just overall had fun. I call myself a Seasonal Stay-at-Home Dad because, well, I am seasonal. I am a teacher by trade and father by nature -- or something like that. I cherish my SAHD time and enjoy the fun stuff we get to do. Sometimes it’s simple. Sometimes it's … [Read more...]
Watching sports with my daughter is different than watching sports with my son. I admit that it shouldn't be, but it is. With my son, we get caught up in the excitement of the game, root for our favorites and cheer at the opposing team’s failures. With my daughter, though, somehow I get caught up in giving her a history lesson on women’s sports and trying to convince her that she needs to work harder in every area of her life. Why? Because the inequalities between the genders are glaring when viewed through the sports lens. Women’s sports continue to play second fiddle to men’s. And in … [Read more...]
What stars shine and fade and shine again in the sky; warming upturned faces with the glow of patriotism writ loud upon a black canvas? Why, those would be fireworks. I fucking hate fireworks. I didn't always. Then the kids came, and we moved and I found myself penned in by seasonally jingoistic merrymakers. Packed into a neighborhood where the houses are separated by long, thin driveways, real estate law and little else. Neighbors' voices come unbidden, crashing through screens in windows open to the summer, and alerting us to their favorite jam or who, exactly, needs to "fuck … [Read more...]
“Wanna do it SELF! Wanna do it SELF! Wanna do it SELF!” She thrashes like an angry crocodile caught in a net. “Sienna, calm down!” I say, my frustration near boiling over. “You can’t change your diaper by yourself!” Poop leaks everywhere as she flails. I take a deep breath wishing to skip potty training (which we haven’t even started yet) and go right to whatever craziness comes next. We might be a couple of days away from the Fourth of July, but my daughter's in the throes of a sudden independence streak. She wants to do everything herself: open doors; use silverware (if I can … [Read more...]