Tag Archives: Daddy

This Holiday, Please Don’t Drink and Dad

40 year old father arrested for driving little Barbie car at 4 MPH drunk.

Don't let this be you.

They’ll drive you to it.

Many men start adulthood – and dating, and married life, and pregnancy, and fatherhood – with a drink, or two.  There’s a connection in there, somewhere.  Anyway, as time goes on, the responsible male head of the family recognizes, there is a time for having a beer, or bottle of vodka, and a time for staying relatively sober.

Especially now, when children’s thoughts turn to sugar plums and expensive electronics,  it’s important to spare them the lifelong embarrassment, shame and terror that can come from being a careless,  tipsy pop.  This Holiday Season, as you’re getting your drink on, I hope you’ll join me and take a moment to see things from your kids’ perspective, with this Top Ten signs they wish we wouldn’t Drink and Dad. 

1.  Holiday music is a special treat for youngsters.  Everyone likes to sing along.  But if you’re doing the third replay of ‘Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer’ and still laughing, why don’t we check the breathalyzer.

2.  ‘Invisible elves’ is probably not going to convince anybody why Daddy is stumbling a lot over things nobody else can see.

3.  Yeah, they’re cute as can be.  But really:  trying for that once-in-a-lifetime shot of the kids hanging like ornaments on the Christmas tree is just not going to fly.  No matter how much the guys at work will really love it.

4.  If you can’t dance, there was absolutely nothing in that last drink that fixed ‘can’t’.

5.  No matter how many pretty colors and shapes it has in it, that giant mixed bowl of cereal is just not going to pass for Christmas dinner.

6.  The following are signs you’re doing online gift shopping after a bit too much Holiday Cheer.  You  (a) buy something your son will grow into and be able to use five or six years from now;  (b) order that drum kit you always wished you’d got for Christmas when you were a kid;  (c) decide it won’t really matter the gift for your wife isn’t going to arrive til January 4.

7.  Hearing the kids and their sleepover friends play ‘guess why Daddy won’t stop laughing / crying by himself in the kitchen’ is probably not the kind of Holiday game you want to encourage.

8. Yes, it really does save time and trouble to just let the little ones run around free for the Holidays without their drawers or diapers on.  For about, oh, two hours.

9.  Yes, it’s four am, and you really did leave that three page note finally getting everything off your chest on the desk in the bedroom your mother in law is using.

10.  It may be a good idea to check first, and see from the kids faces whether they are really as excited as you think to see you in the living room wearing all the Christmas lights.

This Holiday, raise a glass, make a toast, but give the family a time they’ll treasure forever.  Not a viral YouTube video.

(By the way, if you’re an alcoholic, pick up the phone.  Now.  And get help.  Seriously. )

Dad’s Diet Crises

Dad's cure for snack food dietQue sera, quesadilla.

It’s swimsuit weather, the kids are all summering, and I learned I’ve been letting the family down in the diet department.  The children lined up to bring this to my attention.  Apparently, there is NO FOOD in the house.  They are united on this point, and vocal, and the neighbors are now convinced we are starving them on purpose.

This comes as something of a surprise.  Our grocery bills haven’t gone down, and you have to put a shoulder to the door of the fridge to get it shut.  True, I haven’t got round to cleaning it out recently.  It’s on my list.  After ‘learn power napping’, and ‘schedule in-home insurance check-up’  I think.

But anyway, I quickly discover the problem.  Dad has NO CLUE what EVERYBODY knows, namely, what ALL OTHER children ALL get to eat ALL THE TIME, except at OUR house.

They take me to the kitchen to look into it.

And what I discover is, our home has become dangerously low on a whole cornucopia of sweet, salty, fat filled, factory processed munch that is essential to the development of modern preteens and adolescents.

The pantry has no frosted or creme filled anything.  Apart from a packet of stale ginger crisps, cookie stockpiles have gone to zero.  One half bag of white corn tortilla chips sits alone, as if potato chips had never been invented. And there’s no sign of any kind of ” -itos” whatsoever.  No candies, no frozen pops, chocolate, sweet rolls, toaster whatsits, mini cakes, sodas, or bags of sugar coated anything. It’s a crises.  We need to get to the bottom of this.

I blame my wife.

‘The house is full of food’, she says when I call.  Eggs, she tells me, and I repeat it to the kids.  They shake their heads.  Salad, rice cakes, popcorn, cheese, turkey, tuna, tortillas, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, fruits, whole wheat crackers, chicken, nuts.

‘Nuts!?’ they shout.

I try to reason with their mother.  ‘They’re not buying it’, I say.

‘There’s plenty of food’, she says, ‘and when they really get hungry they’ll eat it.  They just figure you’re a pushover and will go buy them junk.’

‘Your mother thinks you’re fat’, I tell them.  Not the thing to say to three girls, but I realize it a split second too late.  My son’s so skinny he knows I’m just blowing smoke.

‘You have to go to the store, NOW!’   They’re starting to get that wide-eyed ‘remember the time you left the sliding door open and Herby the hamster got out, permanently’ look.

‘I tell you what’, I say. ‘I’ll make you all a quesadilla’.

‘OK,’ they say, like maybe that was really the plan all along.

I fry up some onion til it’s just starting to get transparent, still crunchy. Then I melt a little butter in a pan, coat one side of a wide flour tortilla, and set it aside on a plate.  A little more butter, low medium heat, melted and the second tortilla goes in.  Spread on a layer of cheese, some chopped tomato, the onion, a little shake of cumin spice, some chopped up chicken, and the second tortilla goes on top, fast as I can.  I put a lid on, and lift it every minute or two to check the underside of the bottom tortilla. It needs to get light brown and flaky crisp, which it does just shy of four minutes. Then,  big spatula, hand on top, flip the whole thing in one smooth motion, cook the other side til it’s light brown, flaky crisp.  Hot and melted inside, done.

It takes two, but they polish them off and are gone.

Later I check again whether there’s any missed sweets,  behind the vases in the top cupboard.  Just to be sure.  Nada.  Well, that spared me having to get rid of them.  For the good of the kids, of course.

Winner By A Nose

It seems about the Homemade bread cooking Dadonly way for a Dad to succeed with kids today is to grab them by the nose, sit them down at the kitchen table, and put your money where their mouth is.  Let me explain.

Being a father’s always been a challenge.  Some of us spend a lot of time out of the house, so we have to wear the name tag and introduce ourselves on a regular basis.  But I don’t think men ever had to compete for kid’s attention the way we do today.  When I come home and say, ‘let’s go play’, I hear ‘I’m busy’.  What ever happened to kids being bored stiff and wishing somebody’d want to go do something?

The problem, it turns out, is we’re now sharing the house.  With a whole crowd of visiting families.  Cosby started it. Now we’ve also got Homer and Bernie Mack, George Lopez, Billy Ray Cyrus, Peter from Family Guy, and the list just goes on.  And all day long there’s this stream of tweeters and facebooking fans, inhabitants of farmville, and busloads of characters from gameland all tramping through.  Getting elbowed aside by Shrek and the whole Hollywood universe.  It’s a miracle to get a word in edgewise.

My brood was becoming a bit like snow leopards, rumored to exist but only occasionally spotted.  They still dished out hugs and smiles when they saw me, but sightings were rare.  And, it occurred to me, if I wanted to protect them, I was only one voice in a very big and noisy wilderness.  When it came to having an influence on what they think, and how they saw things, some food corporations managed to get in more messages a day than I did.

I decided it was time to compete.  Time to tag and track.  Rebuild the pride.

And the one guaranteed place I knew I could catch them was where they came to feed.  The kitchen.

The question was, what to use for bait? Candy, chips, fast food they could find anywhere, and shouldn’t.  I needed something they’d come out of hiding for, and come back for, and keep them purring while we spent time getting comfortable together.

It didn’t come to me til I was out in the garage one afternoon, feeling low.  I came across a bread machine, still boxed.  I couldn’t remember where it came from.  But, for some reason, I decided to give it a go. Instructions didn’t look hard at all.  It looked like something I could do.

I can tell you, if you haven’t experienced it yourself in a while, there’s nothing quite like the warm, wafting scent of fresh baking bread in the nostrils to grab attention.  It’s a primal thing.  A raise-the-head-up and wonder where that smell’s coming from kind of thing.  And no loaf in a wrapper from the chain store has it.

I lit the thing up one evening after dinner and in an hour had a crowd standing around waiting for a slice.

In the end, I’m not sure what the best thing about it was.  Everybody chatting around the warm oven like long-lost relatives around a campfire.  Mouth watering homemade bread.  Dad holding court and doling out slices for toast and jam.  Or, over the years we’ve been doing it since, the things we’ve learned about each other, and the memories we’ve made. With something truly special, they can’t get anywhere else.

I do know this.  In my family, we have a tradition.  One that’s stood through good times and teary nights.  A simple loaf and a little time in the kitchen. And Dad, a part of it.

Banned Food Ingredients

Dads In the Kitchen cooking tools

Not being properly trained to cook, you, like me, may feel free to come up with your own ideas about what to combine to make a dish.  It’s a natural inclination.

This is how it works.  You take a look at that dish you’re working on.  It just seems, wimpy. You think, let’s put some cheese in it.  And some mustard. And sunflower seeds. And let’s see what else is handy in the fridge.

Now,  it may come as a surprise to find this kind of creative kitchen activity is not universally appreciated.  In fact, for many women it is downright alarming.  Like when the Secret Service learn an escaped psychotic in a clown suit and a small plane is heading to meet the President.  You just want to share a brainstorm you’ve had.  They believe you are the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse, with incredibly bad taste.

I have no idea what originally caused people to start putting sticks, leaves, and whatnot together to come up with things like ice cream and apple pie.  Or, beef stroganoff. But I tell you, it’s pretty hard not to want to try a bit of this and shake of that, just to see how it will turn out.

Unfortunately, this is against the laws of nature.  The outcome of your food efforts will be a concoction, and concoctions are biblically banned in all fifty states, and not allowed in the kitchen, or on the table, of decent people.  In fact, little girls are warned about what will happen if men are allowed to make concoctions, and mothers will protect their broods from them.  Mothers who discover sons with such tendencies usually steer them into chemistry, or becoming Bobby Flay.

Men cannot be trusted to just make things up in the kitchen, because unlike women, we are likely to use ‘weird’ ingredients.  These are ingredients which look innocent enough on the shelf, but have been legally determined cannot to be brought together in any edible dish.  I don’t have the list for you yet, but I’m working on it.

The bad news is, once you’ve been caught, there’s no shaking the stigma.  My kids won’t sit down to any meal I’ve fixed without asking, ‘Daddy, what’s in this?’, so they can decide whether to skip it. Or need to tell their mother I’m doing voodoo on the family again.

My advice – the wise man in the kitchen will resist the temptation of discovery.  Just give em what they want during the week, and let your wife take poison control off speed dial.

Keep watching here for that list, or if you have a minute, send along some combinations you’ve uncovered yourself.