I have Unleashed the Beast

First, I just wanted to apologize to you guys/gals. I have not been able to post for almost a week now.  A lot has happened and lets say I have had to reorganize 90% of my upstairs because of ONE KID. Anyway, I have several posts coming and I hope you stay tuned.

Eric

Let us take a short trip down memory lane. Do you remember when your baby was first born and they would snuggle you at any moment? How about when you put them down in the crib and all you got was two minutes of tears then angelic pouting lips and gentle snores? Perhaps, your child was always a happy baby as long as they were being fed. Either way, these memories are burned into our memories. Little do we realize we will have to draw on these very memories in a few short months.  Do you have that image? Here’s mine.

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This is my youngest son.  Happy, slobbery, pleasant. He had a nap every day and loved to eat anything I put in front of him. He would go to bed by 8:30 PM and stay asleep until 8 AM. Oh memories!

Recently, he climbed out of his crib (four times in 20 minutes).  Of course I turned the crib into a daybed that next hour. The issue arose when it came to his quiet times and bed times. I was soon on the receiving end of a “toddler” on the loose rage marathon.  I quickly found out how mobile and strong he was.

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This is what happens when you leave a toddler in quiet time without the crib. The result was a mixture between disbelief and anger and humor. Obviously, the disbelief  and humor was on our part. How could one small “innocent” child do so much damage? The best part was when we checked on him and he was sitting there, he got mad at us for stopping the fun.  I have never seen so much anger packaged into a body so small. I’m sure you are wondering what anger wrapped in the form of a twenty month old child looks like…

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I personally think he looks like one of the Orc commanders from Lord of the Rings but that’s just me I guess. My question to you…when your child outgrew the crib and you had to put in the daybed or twin bed, did your child’s personality change?

There is a plus side, he loves his big brother so much that he now sleeps in his bed almost every night now and his big brother wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Politics: Good or Bad for Family discussions?

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This will be pretty short today.

I’m not sure about the rest of you but I like to consider myself a pretty informed political citizen. That being said, I tend to come down on the more liberal side of a lot of agendas purely because I can’t seem to get over the idea of voting against your own best interest. When is it okay to introduce politics to your kids?

In order to bring up responsible children shouldn’t we let our kids know why we vote?  Why we choose to live our lifestyles? Of the millions of questions we have to field from our kids, this in my opinion is one of the biggies that should be answered. We are here to bring up our kids to be productive, respectful and informed members of society, right?

I understand that much like learning a new language, exposure will ingrain the principles, we as parents find most important onto our children.  “Stop hitting your sister” or “Finish your food for the 1000th time” while both good principles to live by  are not quite what I’m referring too. Of course leading by example is the best way to show genuine examples of lifestyle but practicing what we preach can sometimes be difficult for children to understand especially when every question from our kids starts with, “Why?”

So my official question:

How far do you explain the answer? I think providing accurate answers are better than filling the truth with  kid friendly fabrications. Tell me what you think.

 


Sweat it out!

DSCN0365 (If my wife reads this, I’m sorry I couldn’t find another photo with your eyes open.)

How many of us have gained weight over the years? It doesn’t really have to be because of kids or marriage or even old age, we all may find ourselves a bit “softer in the middle” than we would prefer.  I personally have struggled with my weight over the past five years.  When I met my wife I was a lean 155 lbs and at 5’6 I would say I was ideal for my frame. I’ve always been been muscular and have enjoyed working out for as far back as I can remember. (Not, that I was disciplined enough to see really good results.)

After my son was born I was at the peak of my weight gain. I was a sweet 205lbs depending on the day and it was my wife who actually woke me out of my weight gain. How you might ask? She made a small comment, ” You used to have a six-pack when I first started dating you.” She didn’t mean it in a negative way and it wasn’t a false statement. It was then and there I decided to work on my body. I mean its only fair right?

If I want my wife to be attracted to me and to not dread the idea of my blubber rubbing up on her then fix the issue, right? Will she love me no matter what? Of course, but will she want to still get all sexy for me if I don’t care about taking care of myself? She and I have actually discussed this, and the chances of sexy time would realistically diminish if the weight got out of control. So that’s when I decided I would start working out and take care of myself which would also take care of my “other” concerns.

wpid-wp-1406924447038.jpeg I busted my hump and I was getting stronger and the weight was falling off. After a year of hard work and many gallons of sweat I finally was getting the results I was looking for.  I had a great system and then my final semester of college at Saint Joseph’s University started. End of traction. End of the gym and my routines. My weight was quickly coming back. By the end of the semester, I was about 20lbs heavier but it was my graduation so I didn’t really pay much attention.

This summer I realized my situation yet again and I’ve been struggling to get back on the wagon. I was reading a blog by Eric Williams about the issues of trying to workout on your own and how often the results are less than desired. So he has suggested a support group or a group of like minded dads who can keep each other held accountable.

SECRET REVEALED:
Everyone wants to know what is the secret to success. I’ve got the secret. But if I tell you…you won’ t like it. Its not a pill. Its not a shake that makes you crap for the next 3 days. Its not liposuction or anything that can be categorized as a quick fix. The secret is SWEAT. You have to up your exercise in some way. When I was most successful I increased my cardio. Find an elliptical that you like and crank it up to 100% resistance. Go for an hour and make your goal at least 1000 calories burned. Start off slow and just keep going until the time is up. On average you should take in approx. 1800 calories give or take and by this one basic exercise you can curb your net total for weight loss. REMEMBER: Drink A LOT of water and only weigh yourself first thing in the morning and be naked. This will help your psychological edge because this is the time when you weigh the  least in a day. Okay friends go out and sweat!

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How do you bring down the law?

Molding our kids to be proper adults is, in my opinion the most difficult job on the planet. Every time my kids decide to push the limits and either break the rules or bend them so far that the original rules don’t apply I find that I again have to reach down deep and remember that these are my kids. Being a smart, firm, responsible, modern dad is hard. For many of us, the role as primary caregiver is not only new but we are trying to balance the role of disciplinarian as well which can be confusing and down right scary. Which begs the question, how much is too much when it comes to punishments?

I grew up in the South as a foster child from the state of Louisiana. When it came to discipline…progressive or gentle handed were not the standards I was accustomed to. Kneeling on rice, whippings on the back of the legs with a willow switch, holding phone books out with my nose to the wall…most of us would probably picture a torture scene from one of the classic 80’s and 90’s movies. Of course, these were some of the worst versions of punishments I had experienced and I have cataloged them under what NOT to do when punishing my kids. That brings the question, what is the best type of punishment for your kids? Physical discipline, time outs, punishment/reward systems, stickers and star what works best?

As many people that will read this, I’m sure there will be as many different opinions of what is the best road for discipline. In my home I have a hybrid system ranging on the severity of the broken rule and the age of the child. Normally, a time out is enough to get the point across. All of my kids are able to experience this from my eight year old to my 18 month old. The age dictates the time so for the eight year old, eight minutes, you get the idea.  The next “level” of punishment is removing fun favorites such as snacks, computer time, TV, visiting friends etc. This is the most effective in my home but only for my older two kids since taking candy from a baby is…well frowned upon by humanity.  The final and most severe and least used is spanking.  All of my kids have had a chance to experience a spanking in some way, shape or form.  If my 18 month old reaches for the stove or a socket, he gets a smack on the hand.  A smack on the bare butt is reserved for the most egregious of offenses and I can count on one hand how many times I have used that level of punishment on any of my kids. (My little guy has not experienced a butt spanking yet.)

What do you think is the best form of punishment when your kids break the rules?

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Ban or Not Playdate drama

 

Recently a friend of mine Chris Bernholdt has found himself in the media spotlight for his piece, “Banish the Playdate“.  Give it a read, his perspective is not as original and unrealistic as some have argued because many of us have already had similar feelings towards the rules of the all powerful play date.

Chris claims, “The word playdate also gives off this connotation that I should be opening doors for you as you drop off your kid. They are only playing and there is no need for us to hang out unless you are one of those moms that feel uncomfortable leaving your kid with me. You probably don’t want to be THAT mom though because when I drop my kids off at your house I’m not loitering because I trust you.”

This seems to get to one of the core issues of playdates at least coming from some dads’ perspectives.

I am a husband and a father of three kids and a stay at home dad and founder of MainLineDads. The concept of the playdate is familiar to me as it is with almost every parent that I know but there should be some limits of the parental involvement. If your kid(s) are too young to be going up and down the block alone then playdates are almost a necessity. That is the primary job of parents, to be the gatekeepers, to make sure that the kid(s) have someone to interact with but also a safe environment to nourish social communications with children their own age and not be concerned with outside “issues”.

Once the kids begin school, the playdate rules should and need to be amended. They will be forming new friendships without the oversight of the parents. Instead of constantly deciding who they should and should not play with, a parent should use this opportunity to be introduced to the parents of these new friends. For my daughter, she is almost everyday asking to call her long list of friends to go over and play. Every single one of them has been from her school and I’ve met all of their parents. (For the record: We are fortunate to have 90% of her friends within a 5 block radius so clearly this does not fit all parents scenario.) She calls them and asks if so and so is home and if so, she rides her bike or scooter over then calls when she arrives. Simple.  This in my opinion, allows her opportunities to learn several things: phone manners, personal schedules, social interactions and of course the exercise to get there. For the parents who think the world is too scary and dangerous, knowing your neighborhood is important. I know my crime stats and where any problem residents may be. I’ve also communicated with my daughter the need to be aware of her surroundings. Can I protect her from everything? Of course not, I CAN trust my kids to make good choices based on my rules that they have grown to respect and obey. Sheltering your kids, while lined with good intentions, will normally do more harm than good. Let your kids make friends on their own and make sure as parents we are there to pick them up if those decisions don’t work out just right.

The other issue in Banish the Playdate is how over-scheduling clips the creative “juices” that childhood is most known for. Let your kids get bored, turn off the phone or computer and send them outside.  Within five minutes you will see a bored child turn miraculously into a pirate or astronaut. There is no need to make sure that kids have scheduled events all the time. Let them fend for themselves. So, back to the issue of banning playdates…my verdict is ban the parents from over-scheduling because the awesome part of being a kid is not having a schedule.

FREEDOM. The very thing every single one of us has wished for over and over again since becoming a responsible adult. Everyday we are bound to our schedules. We have to fit as much into our day as possible because, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”  These are adult problems and our kids will find that out one day. Today, BACK OFF and let them enjoy their freedom of responsibilities and let them choose their friends and what they should do. The playdate itself is not the issue, the issue is over protective parents. We all need to take a step back to remember our childhood.

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