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Archive for the tag “Father”

Excusez-moi Madame, Have You Seen My Son?

imagesIf you are an unemployed man, raise your hand.  Um…not so fast sir.  You haven’t worked for some time and I doubt you have any intentions of working so let me rephrase that.  If you are a man who has recently lost his job, raise your hand. Hmm…Ok ok.  Don’t do that either.  You look a bit silly sitting in front of your computer with your hand in the air.  If someone should walk in on you right now they would think you have lost it. No, not your job, your mind.

Anyways, since I very rudely and abruptly lost my job when the employment carpet was unceremoniously yanked from under my feet, I have noticed that there are quite a few other dads out there who suffered the same fate.  Either that or they are lying to me as a way of expressing their sympathy I am gullible so I doubt that.  I now know at least 5 other men who have lost their jobs within weeks and months of my own departure.  Most of us have kids which makes me wonder if there is something afoot.  Are our wives up to some kind of sneaky underhanded dealings?  Are they in cahoots with our bosses?  They think we are not ‘mommy’ enough to handle stay-at-home duties? Well we will show them!

My fellow daddy-day-carers, let’s go forward in solidarity!  Let’s show our wives that we are capable of being darn good stay-at-home dads.  We will only call them when we need, I repeat, need, to know where our kids’ clothes are, what they like to eat and what are their names.  We won’t ask the obvious questions that they are probably waiting for us to ask, like ‘Honey, can you tell me who wears the red Nikes?’  Hello! We will try them on the kids until it fits someone.  Duh!

Since I was forced into my stay-at-home daddy role, I can see a difference around the home.  Mikhail is riding a bike without training wheels, the kids are eating less, which is good for weight watching.  I mean, most of it is because I keep forgetting to make meals but that’s besides the point. We are also saving on gas bills as we eat fast food more often.  Let the restaurants pay the gas bills.  Kenyan even tried coffee for the first time.  Do you think mommy would have allowed him that treat?  Of course not.

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About school, my two older boys are now going to a French immersion school.  It’s great except that I couldn’t keep track of the Madames at that school when it was only one kid attending, with two there’s no way I could remember! Plus they are usually weird french names.  Names like Madame Dideau, Madame Richelu and Madame Jackson.  (told you they were weird).   My wife remembers them all but she doesn’t have to worry about other stuff like who wears the red Nikes and who eats what.  I am not done.  My youngest is repeating preschool. I know, big deal eh? Well here this…He gets off at 11:30am, Kenyan at 11:00 and Mik at 3:12.  I think it’s 3:12.  Guess who has to pick them up at these staggered time?  Yep, me!  It’s piece of cake.  I mean I am sure I will show up at the wrong time and at the wrong school but as long as I say ‘Excusez-moi madame but where is my kid?’ I should be ok.

So if you start seeing kids walking around with Nikes too big for their feet while holding a cup of coffee and waiting for their daddy who is either running late or waiting at the wrong school/bus stop, don’t worry about it.  They are from the new day care in  your area most likely ran by an unemployed dad.  The kids will be fine, no worries. Fellas, let’s show our wives how we do things. Raise your…actually never mind.

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Stay-At-Home Dad In Training

imagesIt’s been almost a month since I was forced to become a stay-at-home dad.  It’s been a learning and sometimes challenging experience.  I have been learning and adapting as I go and have compiled a few of the things I have learned.  Maybe some new stay-at-home dad would benefit from it.

Never give the kids food choices – During my first week, I would ask the boys what they wanted for breakfast.  While I prepare cereal for one, toast with peanut butter and jam for the other and porridge for the third I would vow to myself not to ask again but would ask at lunch and again end up making two or three different meals.  My boys are fussy eaters and I was an amateur.

Planning on giving the kids a treat? Keep it to yourself.   During my learning stage, I got excited whenever I had plans to take the boys to the splash park or for ice cream.  I would make the mistake of telling them beforehand and endured the endless questions for the rest of the day.  “When are we going, Daddy?”  “Are we still going to the park?”  If something comes up and you are unable to go, then you won’t hear the end of it.  Once I had to cancel a splash park visit because of rain.  I broke the news to the boys and my 5-year-old responded, “So?  We could still go.  We are getting wet anyways.”  I didn’t respond.  How could I?

Nap when the kids are napping.  A very important piece of advice.  At first I chose to do most of the housework when they were having their naps. By the time they got up, I was ready for a nap myself.

Work when the kids are napping.  If you wake up bursting with energy and raring to go, don’t go napping because your kids are, you lazy bum.  While they are up, spend some time with them.  Tire them out so they will be glad to go down for a nap while you take the chance to catch up on your chores.

Grab a shower when the kids are tucked in bed.  For some strange reason, just when I am all soaped up, one of the boys would knock on the door wanting something. Or there would be shouts of “Daddy, come wipe my bum!”  Never fails.

Plan. Yes, plan. Plan your meals and your daily activities.  Don’t ignore your own housework.  There’s not enough hours in the day and you will quickly find out.  I have had some days where I had to run around preparing supper for the boys when they were supposed to be in bed for the night.  A simple meal plan would have helped.

Enjoy it!  If it’s a temporary thing you as it is for me, then enjoy spending time with your kids.  Do the things you couldn’t do while at work. Make it count!

 

Daddy Day Care

2013-07-20103743Since we last chatted, there have been some drastic changes in my life.  Well one drastic change that sort of caused some minor adjustments.  I became unemployed.  Yes, ‘due to changes in my workplace’ I became expendable and was bought out as of July 10th.

The boys were happy to hear that Daddy would be spending the summer with them.  Or at least part of it.  They did not see the downside of such a sweet deal.  No more work? Hang with Daddy all day?  What downside could there be?

I jumped right into the stay-at-home dad thing immediately.  Ok, maybe not immediately.  (Before my wife corrects me).  I took a day or so to come to grips with my new status.  Then it was off to the races. Last Friday, I did something that I was never able to do before.  I taught Mik how to ride his bike without training wheels.  He was hesitant at first but after some prompting, took to it like a duckling to water.  Point for Daddy!

I am having a blast with this Daddy day care thing and should slow down before I get to like it too much.  Now to teach the other two boys how to ride…

Daddy Day Care

Daddy Day Care (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Belated Father’s Day Post

IMG-20121127-WA0000Father’s day was another busy day for this daddy.  So busy in fact that my wife promised to give me a day in lieu so I could rest and relax.  She should, she was the slave driver who put me to work on my day of fatherly recognition.  The nerve!  Women!

The boys made me a Father’s Day video presentation that was the cutest and most perfect gift that I could ever want.  In the video, the boys thanked me for the ‘daddy’ things I did like playing Xbox with them and making ‘Man Cakes’ (pancakes) and strawberry shakes.

To me it was an eye-opener.  The things they thanked me for were the things that to me came with the package of being a father.  Nothing extra.  It made me realize what I really missed not having a daddy.  It made me realize also that it is not the big things but the little things we do that count to our kids.

And you have to check out this video…

 

 

 

A Real Eulogy

Last April, I wrote a blog about eulogies at funerals and how it is the accepted norm to make the dead look larger than life.  Read here.   Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a good friend and community stalwart.  His funeral was well attended as he had touched the lives of many.   The Eulogies and speeches were of the same tone.  They painted a picture of a great friend, a champion of the people, a great community man who loved his country and his roots.   Then it was his son’s turn.

To the amazement and maybe disapproval of many, the son did not follow funeral protocol.  He started out by saying his dad was a bad dad.   It’s like mice crashing a cat’s party.  How dare this brash young man hijack this party?  Yes, he’s the son and has authority but he can’t speak of the dead like this!  It’s rude and uncouth and just plain wrong!  He’s sullying the name of his father.  This is definitely not the time nor place for this kind of talk.  I heard debates like this.

It was one of the best and genuine eulogies that I have ever had the pleasure to listen to.  I clung to every word this young man was saying.  He unwrapped a side of his dad that many in the congregation never saw.  It was an unwrapping like no other.  He spoke of barely knowing his dad because of a divorce and growing up thinking that not only would he not shed a tear when he dies but would not attend his funeral.  He shared how he came to terms with what his dad did and was able to forgive him.

This brave young man did not mince his words.  He gave a son’s view of his dad.  How could my dad be ‘The People’s Champion’ and  ‘Man of The People’, but couldn’t be my father?  He asked himself this time and time again.   How could he leave us behind and go and help others?  It just didn’t make sense.  The answer did come to him and with it came strength.  It was well written and presented.

His Dad would have been proud of this son who showed that he has inherited his penchant for speaking his mind.  At the end of the service, I overheard various debates on the suitability of his eulogy.

To the young man, you could not have chosen a better time.  You did not sully the reputation that your father had, you enhanced it.  You explained the situation that tossed your father into a path that he was not ready to take and how he made the unpopular choice that he made, thus you made his legacy that much more meaningful.  A bad man didn’t die.  A man who turned his own weaknesses and failures into strength did.  A man who didn’t have the tools to be a Dad, had the tools to be comrade, a friend, a voice, a mover and a shaker.

The understanding and strength you showed to forgive your dad was the beginning of a maturity that many of us lack.  Your eulogy was not controversial, it was revealing.  It was not unsuitable, it was necessary.  It was relevant.  All can see that your dad’s memory and legacy is alive and well within you.  My condolences to you and your family and may your dad’s soul finally find rest.

Please read:

The Coolest Dad On The Block

No, sadly it isn’t me.  I used to be though.  The coolest dad around, that is.  I had my boys performing with me on stage in front of hundreds.  They were the envy of the other kids who wished they had the nerve to pull that off.  Their Daddy was singing at venues and functions around the city.  How cool was that?  Oh, and I coached their soccer team and…and…write blogs?

Now who knows how long this would have stayed that way?  But whatever, we had to move into a new neighborhood.  We had to move close the new cool dad.  The dad with all the toys.  Goodbye championship belt.

Andre, our neighbor, along with other things,  has a motorbike.  He takes his kids riding on it.  Sometimes just to the store to get treats.  As if being on the bike isn’t treat enough.  He also has a small tractor that he lets his little boy drives.  Heck, I would like to drive that thing.  While having a nice family dinner, my boys would rush to the window to see Andre’s kids playing with some new Daddy toy.  Come back here boys, finish your veggies!  Kids shouldn’t play with tractors or ride motorbikes. They are much too dangerous! Now sit and eat.  We’ll play a game of snakes and ladders after.

A few days ago, I noticed that Mr. Cool Dad also has two dirt bikes.  My boys pointed it out to me.  Grrr…Now that’s going too far, mister!  Cool it with the toys! You are making the rest of us dads lose our cool.

This weekend,  I am going to his house with my boys and he’s going to show us everything he has.  Everything.  Then he’s going to promise not to get anymore.  This way, we’ll have no more surprises and interrupted dinners.  Nothing to take my boys’ attention from their Xbox.  Jeez buddy, we are playing with Captain America here…

He’s lucky he’s a great neighbor who is also a handyman.  I may need to borrow his ‘toys’ one day.

Never Mind Me, You Should See The Boys! (A letter to Dad, from Daddy)

Dear Dad, can I still call you Dad?  I mean I’m no longer a kid and you’ve never really been a daddy to me.  (What makes up being a Dad anyways? I must google… ) But yeah, Dad, I know we barely know each other.  I can only remember seeing you twice in my life and both were less than memorable.  The last time was in 2004.  I thought you would have been more excited to see me but you weren’t.  I felt like I was a casual acquaintance instead of your son but I am over all that now, I am a grown man. This letter is not about me, it’s about your grandsons who you don’t know.  So let’s forget about me.

Mikhail is our first-born. He was born October 12th, 2006(remember the date for future reference), which means he’s five years old.  He is very smart and we are all proud of his every achievement as we are with the other two.  As a matter of fact Dad, he’s one of two kids in his class who are allowed to pick their own books because their reading is above the class’ level.  How cool is that? Were you ever proud of me?  Sorry, never mind.

Kenyan is the second and he was born on July 11th 2008. (You might want to remember that too.).  He’s one tough little fella, quite smart too. He is street smart whereas Mik is booksmart. Not to take anything away from either of them.  He loves to scrap with his big brother or whoever else is willing to take up his challenge and is not afraid of much. Kenyan wants to be a boxer, a hockey player, a football player, whatever catches his fancy.  He is a natural at any sport he tries and holds the Wii record for bowling.   He regularly gets 8 or more strikes in a row.  Kenyan also has the most infectious laugh.  He also loves his skinny jeans.

Our youngest is Treyton. He turned two years old on December 23rd.  Trey as we call him, is a blend of his two brothers.  He gets into trouble a lot and loves to say ‘I won’t do it again’ when he is caught red-handed.  He is also able to hold in own in the smarts department. He can repeat entire songs and surprises us daily with his knowledge.

Mikhail attends a French immersion school and practices his French at home, because of this, Trey can count to 15 and Kenyan to 20 in French. Not bad for a 2 and 3-year-old you would admit.   Was I a smart kid?

My father-in-law dotes on his grandsons.  They call him Papa.  He plays baseball with them every chance he gets and has hopes that at least one of them will go on to be in the big leagues. Good luck with that, Papa.  His rallying cry when he comes over to visit is ‘Have no fear, Papa is here!’ The boys would come running no matter where they are or what they are doing.

Their Grandmothers also spoil the boys.  Nana, as they fondly call my mom, babysits them every monday while Grandma, Amie’s mom, watches the big boys on Thursdays and Fridays.  Grandma acts mean but I know she spoils the boys when they are at her place. Both her and Papa have a soft spot for Mikhail.  I guess it’s because he’s their first.

There’s so much I could tell you about the boys but I am sharing this letter with some readers and i don’t want to take up too much of their time.  Maybe I’ll drop you an update sometime in the future.

Dad, Please don’t take this personal but want to thank you for inadvertently teaching me how to be a good daddy by not being one yourself. You taught me the things that I shouldn’t do. Because you weren’t there, I vowed to be always there for my boys.  I cannot imagine living without them in my life.   By never showing me love, I never stop letting my boys know how much I love them.   I love you too, Dad.   Yeah, I do.

Whenever you are alone, don’t you ever wish that your grandsons were sitting on your knee while you read to them? Wouldn’t you like to have them run to you yelling,  “Papa is here!”? Dad, I know you think I still harbor ill will towards you, I don’t.  It’s not about me anymore, so never mind me dad, you really should see the boys…  your Grandsons.

Take care,

Your son, Carlos

P.S.  I am enclosing some photos of the boys for you to see what they look like.

Mikhail the soccer star

Kenyan the next soccer star

Treyton, the model

My Men

Daddy! Daddy!

Kids say the cutest and sometimes heart touching things and my three little boys are no exceptions.  Every day is filled with gems, both in speech and actions. Other than their sincere I Love You’s, nothing is more profound than hearing them call me Daddy.  Yes, there are instances when I grit my teeth and think Enough with the Daddy Daddy already! Daddy is trying to do something here!  Three kids calling for Daddy all at the same time can be a bit over powering.

When they say Daddy, for an instant I feel a couple of inches taller and more important.  Here are three of the cutest kids in the world calling me daddy. I am their daddy.  It fills me with not only a sense of pride but also a sense of purpose.  To me, there’s a deeper meaning to it.  To me, it means that I cannot lose sight of my roles in these young ones’ lives.  Daddy! Daddy! keeps me grounded and focused.

My Dad abandoned us at a young and sensitive age.  I needed him to help me through the ‘man stuff’.  I needed him so I too could share my stories about our fun times with my friends in school.  I needed him to call me son. I needed to say Daddy! Daddy! to him when I learned to ride my bike.

I know that no matter what, I am always going to be Daddy.  The same lips that scream and yell when Daddy has to dispense discipline are the same lips that say ‘Daddy, I love you’ immediately after. How sobering is that?

One of my main fears when it comes to my boys is that one day I won’t be there for them when they call Daddy! Daddy!  Then I also wonder how can a Dad even think to harm their kids. To betray that innocent trust placed in him… sometimes to a tragic end.  I imagine them crying out to their daddy in confusion as to why their trusted Daddy who is supposed to be there for them to chase away the monsters, is now being worst than those imagined monsters.  Maybe that would explain why there are so many messed up kids out there.

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