Wednesday, March 31, 2010
All you can eat buffets suck. Lets face it, do you need "all you can eat"? I know I don't and I know my son does not need it either. Yet if the option for "all you can eat" is on the menu I usually order it.
At the end of the meal I always feel guilty. I want my son to watch what he eats and if I cannot curb myself, how can I expect him too.
Tonight we went to the eat buffet style. I did not over do it and my son did not either. Baby steps...
What? The dessert is part of the buffet? Be strong...
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Kids like to act out the stories they read, hear or watch. Every generation, from sword fighting and martial arts, to laser battles had its role playing adventure. Is it all just fun or is it training for life as well? The role playing worked on their physical skills and team building qualities. Imagination is also sharpened, after all there had to be a plan to save the world.
The last decade or two has brought another dynamic to the stage. Video games play a huge part in the role playing arena. You have just dropped $60 bucks taking your kids to the latest blockbuster action adventure and on the way home they beg you to stop at the nearest game store to pick up the game version. The rest of the afternoon is spend re-enacting the movie with a controller. Your imagination is hampered since the world is in place already. Your team building skills are not sharpened since you are interacting with a bunch of virtual underlings. Sitting in front of the TV working the controller is not very physical.
Although the video game has changed the scope of role playing its not all bad. Quick thinking and decision making are honed in ways only game simulation can do. You make the wrong decision the first time, and maybe the second time too, but eventually you will learn and achieve your goal. You train yourself to adapt to the ever changing situations in the virtual world. Causality teaches powerful lessons. Is that not training for life as well?
My son can pick up the nuances in a video game in ways I can't grasp. He can always beat me in that world. His mind is active. His thinking is quicker and I can not catch him. In the computer age his decision making is far more accelerated than I was at his age.
As my friends and I run around the playground saving the world, my friend jumps off the monkey bars and sprains his ankle. All the kids stop playing and help him home. Saving the world will have to wait a little while longer. It's getting dark anyway.
Monday, March 29, 2010
When the kids were younger the four questions would stray a bit from the traditional inquiry. Here are some of the memorable ones:
-What is that grey stuff on my plate?
-Why do I have to sit up straight if we're supposed to recline?
-Does the shankbone connect to the elbow?
-Why is Herb so bitter, does he have a headache?
-Do we have any dinner rolls?
-Can I get a gefilte fish for my fish tank?
-After dinner can we search for the easter eggs?
Now that the kids are older, they are more engaged in the Seder.
They might not fully comprehend why they ask these questions, but they understand the meaning behind them.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
So they were very excited when I suggested we built a mini half pipe. I have no idea how I was going to complete this task. We are away so I have to rely on a scarce tool selection. We get in the car and drive over to Loews. We grab an enormous giant blue shopping cart and make our way past 60 aisles until we spy the lumber. We do not need a lot of wood so we pick through the scraps until we find some pieces to our liking. As we scan the great wall of nails we pick out a few sizes.
We arrive at home after a quick detour to Target to pick out a few more toy bikes. We are now ready to build.
We gather whatever supplies needed to do the job. I measure and cut the curved sides. I show my son and nephew how to cut on a straight line. I drill the holes and screw the sections together. The kids eyes light up as our vision takes form. Now is the hardest part. Bending the wood to fit the steep curves required for a half pipe is a challenge. I slowly bend the wood and hold it in place while the kids work the hammer. After the last nail is tacked into place we slowly stand up and take a step back. There sitting on the patio is a 24 inch long, 10 inch high half pipe. The kids eyes are wide and their mouths are open. We did it! We actually built a mini half pipe just using our imagination and ingenuity.
It cost more than the plastic one at the store but this one is made from our hands. The blister on my finger is worth their jubilation. The swelling of my finger from the hammer will take a little longer to pass. The kids will recall this day long after they remember those toys. I was a great day.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Lately friend influence has entered the picture. He sees what his friends are wearing so he wants to wear that also. He does not want his parents deciding on his look. Friend influence has been a battle between parents and kids for centuries. I am not surprised by the desires my son is exhibiting. Is there a line, yes there is. Do I want him to fit in, yes. Do I want him to think for himself, yes. Does he get those $125 pair of Nike's, no.
Friday, March 26, 2010
When my son started school, I made it a point that I would walk my son to school once a week. I always worked long hours so both of us really looked forward to the day I went to work late to spend that time walking with him. This year my wife suggested I sign up for class parent. I usually went on one class trip a year with my son's class but this would give me a chance to spend more time with my son and maybe meet some of the other fathers. School starts and after a week I get the email welcoming the class parents and thanking them for their involvement. I feel good to be part of the class parent group. The introduction meeting will be at 9:00 am the following Tuesday. I am worried about going in late to work, but my wife encourages me to go to the meeting, after all its the first one and you don't want to miss it. Tuesday comes and I am prepared like I am going on an interview. I dress business casual and bring a pad and business cards. I am ready to introduce myself, smile and shake hands.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Tonight was the first Dad Trade meet-up. Three of us met at Pete's Tavern for drinks and to shoot the shit about life's daily happenings. Pete's Tavern claims it's the oldest bar in NY, and it strives on keeping that look. It's dimly lit, the stools are rickety and the bar is covered in about three inches thick of black paint. It's where old kegs go to die. If you can't drink it out of a mug or a shot glass they don't serve it. Exactly the place for men to talk about their feelings! We all have one child but PeterY and I have boys while JerryD has a girl. We talked about our kids playing sports, teaching respect and the triangle. We compared our own upbringing and the survival strategies needed in multi-sibling households and found many similarities. A great discussion regarding beer vs. pot and the parenting dynamics of a boy child vs. a girl child. We drank and told funny stories. There was no chest bumping, high fives or hugging. Just dads shootin' the shit. We walked out in agreement that we needed to do it again.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Here's a post by JerryD 1G:
Its about Confidence
My 10 year old daughter didn’t make the school track team this year. She made it last year, but not this year. It wasn’t because she wasn’t fast enough although she isn’t real fast and it wasn’t because she wasn’t strong enough to throw the shot put, because she is…so why didn’t she make the team? She didn’t make the team because she didn’t try out for the team.
After a bit of conversation and a few tears she revealed the real reason for her decision not to try out for track. It seems one of the little boys in her class told her she would never make it so she should save herself the embarrassment of looking slow and not even run. My first thought was…that little shit! How dare he do that to my little girl. And then after a few minutes of hard thinking of how “we” could get back at him it clicked. It had nothing to do with the little boy and everything to do with my girl’s fear of failure.
It’s been said that “fear of failure” is what drives people to greatness. That may be true but there still needs to be a sense of “I can do this if I try, and if I fail, it’s OK”. That belief starts at home with the parents. It’s up to us to teach our kids that anything is possible but only if we try. Not with what we say but with what we do, how we act, who we are as role models. We need to encourage our kids to step up even if mistakes are made. Most importantly, we need to help them understand that we all fail at some point but the real failure is not trying.
Me, I’m not so worried about track because Girls Softball starts this Friday.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
We had dinner this evening with friends from the city at The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. We do not get to see them as much as we want to. They have a little girl who when my son and her were babies became friends. They were never in the same class at school and at first glance seem to have nothing in common. But do not rule out the strength of friendship. Their bond rekindled as soon as they saw each other. While waiting for the buzzer to signal that our dinner was ready, they ran around, played games, all awhile being in a constant state of the giggles. After dinner they took a table off to the side and talked and laughed. Never underestimate the power of the BFF.
I know there are shopping contests, writing contests and even eating contests. There are brainteasers and puzzles and spelling bees. Does anyone know this word, "letsgoletsgoletsgo" or "gotobedgotobedgotobed"? I want to know if there is a competition for saying the same words over and over as fast as humanly possible. I think I can be a champion at that.