Hulk Dance

Ariella has been enrolled in a preschool dance program since September at The Maritime Dance Academy. She is learning tap, jazz and ballet. She loves going each week and of course she looks precious in her dance outfit. And lets be honest half the reason that you put a four year old into a dance program is because they look so stinking cute in a tutu. At least I am fairly confident that is why Meghan signed her up.

This past Saturday was picture day. Everyone in the school gets to dress up in very fancy dance outfits. Ariella’s class got to wear these impressive white dresses that the owner got from Turkey. They had strict rules for the day. Their hair had to be done in a proper slicked back bun. They were not permitted to where any jewelry, or nail polish.  The idea as I understand it was to let the dancers natural beauty stand out.

At breakfast before Ariella and Meghan left for dance we were discussing picture day, and that she was going to get to dress up in something special. Without missing a beat Ariella asked if she was going to get to be the Hulk. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Meghan, and my sister try so hard with all of our kids to bring a touch of class and coolness into their lives. But it seems that the gravity of my geekiness is just too strong. I have successfully turned Simeon into a gamer, and Ariella is well on her way to be a big superhero/comic book fan.

I love seeing Ariella dance as a dainty ballerina but I’d pay a fair amount of money to see her tap dance as the Hulk. Someone should start a program up that offers that.

Hulk Ariella dance

Ariella Smash Gracefully!!

 

Please Don’t Share That

This post first appeared on Urban Parent Halifax on Tuesday August 19th which is a great source for all things parenting here in Halifax NS

Without fail every week if not more often I will check my normal social networks and I will come across a post, meme, video or blog dragging out the tired image or the poor bumbling helpless dad. Most times I just roll my eyes and keep on scrolling. But sometimes I really have to shake my head as I wonder why the person shared what they did.

Often times they are calling out their own spouse in a very public manner for trying to do something that was unfamiliar to them. I rarely see the humour in the faceflogging that takes place with person after person chiming in to say how funny this failure is. It’s like my whole social network channels their inner Nelson Muntz.

nelson_muntz102611

If you are considering posting something about how your silly, well meaning, but ultimately failure of a spouse messed up I would like you to consider 3 questions;

  1.  Was it one of their normal responsibilities?

In my house I am the primary cook and I am the primary grocery shopper. We do this because I enjoy cooking more than my wife does and I normally have Fridays off work to do the shopping.

My wife is a smart and capable person. We got married while we were both still in university. Because of that she never had to get used to cooking and grocery shopping for anything beyond college living.

Once shortly after we were married she did the grocery shopping for a change. To my surprise she bought a rather large package of ground pork. When I asked why she legitimately had no idea that she hadn’t bought the ground beef I asked for. To me the products look completely different. But since she didn’t normally do the grocery shopping and never handles raw meat she simply saw a package of ground meat and tossed it into the cart.

It is easy to make simple mistakes when doing something unfamiliar.

  1. How much experience do they have? 

When we get good at something it is easy to forget how hard it was at first, sort of like driving. Think back to those first few times behind the wheel. It was so nerve wracking! It took so much focus and attention. But now you jump in the car and barely give what you are doing any thought at all.

One of the things I think you should never make fun of a dad for trying to do is putting their daughter’s hair in a ponytail. Of course some of us as asking for it.

Dad getting hair ready

Mom’s I don’t think you take time to consider how much more experience you have compared to the average dad. Before you had a daughter that needed her hair put up how many ponytails did you make in your own hair? How about in someone else’s hair, like for someone you used to babysit?

I don’t know about you, but before I had a daughter that needed her hair put up I know exactly how many ponytails I tried before, zero, zip, zilch. Don’t even get me started about braids. I am still not great at putting in a ponytail, but I am learning. It takes skill to figure out how to gather up all the hair, hold it properly in one hand and twirl elastic with another.

It is easy to forget how hard something is when you get used to doing it.

  1. Do you want them to try again?

Do you remember the time when you were learning to ride your bike and you fell off, and your parents laughed and laughed at you? Than they called over all their friends to point and laugh at the poor crumpled heap you were on the ground. No? That’s probably because they wanted you to succeed and they realized ridiculing your failure wasn’t likely a great motivator.

The same people I see making fun of their partners for trying tend to be the ones that complain that their partners don’t help out around the house/in the kitchen/with the kids enough. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t make fun of them every time they try and expect them to be ready to jump up to help.

You can make fun of the failures or you can encourage their effort. You likely can’t do both.

I don’t want to sound like a kill joy. It is a good thing to be able to laugh at our mistakes. But it isn’t funny to be laughed at because of them. Maybe instead of making fun for dads who are trying you could consider posting a picture of a grumpy cat. That guy always cracks me up.

grumpy cat mornings

Why I Dislike Father’s Day

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and I am not looking forward to it. To be clear I am looking forward to the breakfest in the morning (hint hint), the happy Father’s day wishes from my kids, and the gourmet burger I will get when we go out for lunch (hint, hint, hint). What I am not really looking forward to is the church service.

Father’s Day isn’t exactly a Christian holiday but most churches pause to make mention of the day. If you happen to find yourself in a church this Sunday allow me to sum up what you will likely hear the minister say;

‘Happy Father’s Day! Some fathers are pretty crappy. Some fathers have died. You might be sad because of this. Some fathers are doing ok, good job fella’s. Whether your dad sucked or was ok God is the best dad ever, you should spend more time with him.’ 

I will probably say something like this. I will take longer to say it, and I will likely use more poetic and polite terms, but this will more or less be my Father’s Day sermon. It always is.

Father's Day 1

Happy first day of being a dad. Please be prepared to be reminded constantly how most dad’s suck.

I always give this sermon because Father’s Day (like Mother’s Day) can be very emotional for people. Some people really did have fathers that ranged from mildly lousy to absolutely terrible. On Father’s day they struggle to know how to process these feelings. Likewise some people deeply feel the pings of grief as they miss their fathers on this day.

In that sense I stand here as one of the lucky ones. My father who is very much alive went to great lengths to ensure he had a good relationship with me and my sister. He made that very deliberate choice because he didn’t have that kind of relationship with his own father growing up. And I am fortunate enough to have been blessed with children of my own, that I am also trying to care for as best as I can.

As I care for my children I know  I am standing on the legacy my father started. And I am not alone in this. I know many remarkable dad’s that are doing as much as they can for their families.

Father’s Day is meant to be a day to celebrate the good things that good fathers do. Yet Father’s Day more often becomes a time when we commiserate the lousy things that lousy fathers do; and I hate it.

Me and Ariella Baby

Oh look a dad, I bet he actually sucks like ‘all the rest’

Studies continue to show that good father’s play vital roles in their children’s emotional and social development. I want to take the time to celebrate the people who are trying to do this right. I want to encourage them, and to remind them that we see what they are doing and appreciate their work.

I know that Father’s Day can be a hard day, and that elevating those fathers who are doing well can cause pain for the people who never had the relationship they wanted with their father. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take time and make the effort to celebrate all the good dads out there.

It means we also need to take time, on a different Sunday, to really address the very real hurts we can feel when we mourn the loss of our fathers, or mourn the relationship that we never got to have.

Call me crazy, call me selfish, call me insensitive, but as a father when I leave church on Father’s Day to go enjoy my gourmet burger (hint, hint, hint, hint) I want to leave feeling uplifted for trying my best, not dejected because others haven’t.

There needs to be a time to mourn with those who mourn. But can’t we also have a time to rejoice with those who rejoice?