The misadventures of a first time father

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Kid Laughing with bookAh, the dad joke. Always cheesy, often wrapped in a bad pun, and usually funny only to the one telling them.

So what better way to celebrate we squares, we dopey dads than with a small collection of some of dad jokes from across the ether, ready to make you roll your eyes and cringe?

Dad jokes, ahoy!

 

What’s a ghost’s favorite kind of pie?

Boo-berry.

 

You know why eggs don’t tell each other jokes?

They’d crack themselves up!

 

Why did the scarecrow win an award?

He was out-standing in his field!

 

KID: Dad, can you put my shoes on?

DAD: I don’t think they’ll fit me.

 

Why can’t a nose be 12 inches long?

Because then it would be a foot!

 

Why don’t skeletons go trick or treating?

They have no-body to go with!

 

I thought about going on an all-almond diet…but that’s a little nuts.

 

Do you know how you organize a space party?

You planet.

 

I’ve decided to sell the vacuum cleaner. It’s just gathering dust.

 

I’d tell you a joke about pizza, but it’s a little cheesy.

 

Knock, Knock.

Who’s there?

Boo.

Boo Who?

Don’t cry about it. It’s just me.

 

**And as a bonus, here’s a joke our son laid on me recently:

Why are pirates mean?

They just arrrrrrrr


Kids holding hands on playgroundIt was an unseasonably sunny and warm Sunday for Fall, and we decided to take full advantage of it by going for a family drive. No set destination, no goal in mind other than just to spend time together.

It ended up turning into a few errands that my wife wanted to run while we were out, but the overall day was devoted to just going ‘wherever.’ By the afternoon, ‘wherever’ was a playground so that we could all enjoy some sun, some warmth and the little guy could have some fun.

When we got there, there were two little kids (a brother and sister) already present and playing – the brother was one year older than our guy and the sister the same age. Though our guy, as seems to be the case, was twice the size of the fellow two year old.

It was fun to see him so quickly make friends and easily play as if he had known these kids all along. Funny how we adults have such an awkward time engaging in new social relationships, bogged down by lifetimes of inhibitions, fears, experiences, when these children have the world before them, and all it takes is a simple ‘hi’ to head down the path to fun, play and friendship.

For the little chatterbox (which we’re quite proud of) that our guy is, aside from introducing himself, he became a bit more quiet on the playground, usually lost in his own little world (such as picking up piles of pebbles and pouring them onto the swing instead of actually using the swing), or following the 3 year old boy around and wanting to do whatever it is that boy did. If the boy walked up the slide, our guy wanted to walk up the slide (even though he’s never attempted it before). If the 3 year old boy wanted to do the small rock wall, our guy wanted to do it.

It was completely an afternoon of new social engagement, new challenges, but most of all, fun. We spent a good amount of the afternoon there and just as easily as he made friends with these kids, it just as quickly came to an end, without issue. No emotional losses, no crying that things were changing, just…carrying on.

That simple hello that led to an afternoon of play ended with just as easily a ‘bye’ as the brother and sister left with their family members and we stayed on, playing on the slide.

I’m often amazed at how much more adaptable children are than we adults as situations arise, change, etc. If we could all only capture and hold on to that as we grow older.


Potty TrainingAs I’ve probably mentioned before, we’ve been incredibly blessed that our little guy started to use the potty when he did, which was around Christmas time at about a year and a half. We were shocked, surprised, a little overwhelmed, but completely over the moon that he decided to guide himself and tell us that he was ready to start using it.

Lately though, there’s been an odd little trend developing – the potty as a delay tactic.

Much like a well-planned army strategy, the little guy will very agreeably go to bed, per routine, after we’ve read a few books. All seems well until he begins to realize he doesn’t quite want to go to sleep. First, you hear the rumbling in the crib of a little one moving around. Next, the toys that talk as he plays, puttering around as we hope he starts to fall asleep. Then it comes.

“Maaaaaammmmmaaaaa…”

“Daaaadddaaaa…”

“It’s sleepy time, buddy. Time to go to sleep.”

(pause)

(pause)

(pause)

“Potty! Go potty!”

One of us enters the room.

“You’ve gotta go potty, buddy?”

“Uh-huh. Potty! Go!”

And it’s into the bathroom, plopping him on the potty (with his cushion-y little seat adapter for little buns) and away we go. Sometimes, yes, it is quite legit, and we’re very thankful that he tells us so that we can avoid the alternative. But there’s some nights, like a recent Monday night, where while legit, quickly turned into a 45 minute gab session as he sat on the potty, done for a while and just wanting to talk.

“I think you’re done, buddy. Are you all done?”

“Noooo!”

“Okay, well give it a try to get anything else out.”

And we sit and we talk, and we talk. And before you know it, a half hour or 45 minutes has flown by and you start to realize “he has completely played us.”

And I fall for it every time.


Maybe you’ve seen the following video making the rounds on the web this week, as Disney recreated the opening theme song to DuckTales using real ducks.

It’s the latest in what I’ve seen as a growing trend by the Big Mouse company in mining the nostalgia of my generation, which grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, watching shows like DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, Tale Spin, and many others in their “Disney Afternoon” lineup, for use in their social media campaigns.

And it works.

The likes, retweets, shares, etc. across social media spread like a wildfire. And Disney knows this. It keeps these brands relevant, and it keeps their social media booming.

A few of many examples of this.

DT example

One post – More than 22,000 comments!

dwd example

350 likes in under ten minutes!

So I ask this, both to the public, and openly to the Walt Disney Company – your constant use of these shows and the time put in to mine our love and nostalgia for them has yielded you not only envious engagement, reach and love on your social media, but it has shown that there is still an audience for these shows. You must see this, otherwise you wouldn’t continue to use them in your social media strategies.

So why is it, seeing the blatant love, affection and craving for these shows, that Disney still has not released these full series on DVD? Darkwing Duck got a few volumes, then stopped without completion of the series. DuckTales the same thing. Tale Spin even less, I believe.

And let’s take it one step further, even down the pipe-dream route.

Because, let’s face it, Disney. There was time and resources that goes into something like re-creating the DuckTales theme song with real ducks so our generation can get a chuckle as we remember a time when these shows were on the air.

That generation, Disney, that grew up watching your shows and obviously still loves them, as your viral campaigns and social media posts show, are now grown-ups, with kids of our own!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to sit down with our OWN kids (a whole new generation of potential fans) and watch the shows that we loved when WE were kids?

Wouldn’t that open the doors to whole new customers, Disney?

Why not finally take advantage of all that popularity and finally release the “Disney Afternoon Classics” (see, I even just branded the line for you) in their entirety on DVD?

And as we’ve seen from shows you make like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or those Mickey Christmas Specials, you’ve got character designs already for Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and even Scrooge, be they traditional or CGI. Why not take advantage of your built-in audience for these shows, which could now encompass multiple generations, and crank out some new shows?

You wouldn’t even need to commit to a full-on new DuckTales Show, or TaleSpin show. Create some half hour format that offers a rotating cast. One week it’s a new DuckTales adventure, the following week it’s Rescue Rangers, another week its Baloo and the gang, another week Darkwing Duck. You can hit every show’s audience with one, diversified effort. A little something for everyone.

Take advantage of the fact that Alan Young, Jim Cummings, Terry McGovern and others of the original voice casts are still with us and send us and our kids on new adventures with Scrooge, Darkwing, Launchpad and the gang.

You’ve put the resources into mining our nostalgia and affection for these shows and characters. Why not put those resources to work on something we’ll really love you for.

It’s a window of opportunity that won’t be open forever, Disney. But it’s one that has a lot of positives if you climb on through.

The Ducks in comic form

The return of the ducks proved a hit in comics in 2011.


Carpted stepsWe were headed up the stairs last night, as is pretty much the course at that time of night, on our way to bathtime, when my son suddenly stopped several steps up.

“No!” he said to me, his brow furrowed.

“What is it, buddy?” I ask.

“Dada, move!”

What do you mean, move?”

“Move, dada!” he said, fiercely, waiting for me to move several steps behind him as opposed to the usual ‘right behind him to spot him’ we’ve done since he started walking up those stairs on his own.

“You don’t want me behind you, buddy?”

“No!”

I obliged and went three steps back. And wouldn’t you know it, every few steps, he would stop and turn around to make sure I was giving him that space.

And up-up-up he went.

How quickly the urge to declare one’s independence comes.

 


© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation It’s an issue I’ve had for a while.

The anxiety rooted in worry, in lack of control over things that we can not control but try to. It consumes my mind, my being and can often times keep my brain so focused on what I’m worried about and the million different outcomes of various situations, that I’ve just really stopped living my life, or at least enjoying it.

I worry about a lot. If i leave the window open, will the cats push out the screen and get out and be lost to us forever? If the little guy sees relatives throwing things at each other and trying to hit each other, will he then take it as a sign that it’s okay to throw things at people? Are all the doors locked, and checked and double-checked? If we decide to do X instead of Y, will we regret it and find that Y was the better decision after all?!

These may sound trivial, but they’re the kind of things that consume my mind and cause me to constantly second guess almost everything I do, and as an extension, what we, as a family do.

It drains the fun and the enjoyment out of moments that should be cherished and embraced while they’re possible.

It wasn’t always this way. There may have been worry in me throughout the years, but it in many ways it’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. When we got the cats, I started constantly worrying about their safety when we weren’t around. When we had our son, the worry just increased ten-fold.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationIt’s easy to tell someone “stop worrying” but it’s not as easy as just going “oh, okay” and then enjoying every moment of life. It’s different. It’s challenging, and it makes life challenging for those around me.

The day I’m typing this, I saw someone share an image on Facebook that said “When thinking about life, remember this: no amount of guilt can solve the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future.”

It’s definitely true, I just haven’t figured out why I have such a hard time, deep down, embracing it.

I’ve read a lot online about what people recommend to reduce your worries and start enjoying life. It can range from reducing the ‘things/materials’ in your life, have designated space for things like the bedroom is for sleeping, while the office is for working, that sort of thing. Other tips include setting a budget, organizing your time, clear your head and turning off technology.

That last one is a big one. It’s become so easy to get attached to our devices in moments of boredom. Instead of just taking in what’s around us, I can’t think how many times I pull out the phone and ‘just check’ to see if there’s an email or update I need to see. And let’s face it – I don’t need to see it. That’s a justification for the bad habit.

I think my biggest worry, aside from sending myself to an early grave, is passing along these traits to our son. Kids learn from the examples of their parents, what they do moreso than what they are told. So if I model behavior that is constantly worrisome, filled with anxiety, then he is going to have a much higher chance of being that way himself. And that’s no way to live.

© Copyright 2013 CorbisCorporationSo, I’m working on it. I used to take advantage of free Yoga classes in the area that seemed to help keep me pretty level for most of the week, but that ended a few months ago. I could always look into paying for some classes somewhere, but I think no matter what I do, it’s an issue that has to be dealt with from the inside.I need to be able to someday sit down and not worry about a dozen or so other things that need to get done, or could go wrong, or might happen one day. I need to be able to leave the house without constant fear that ‘something’s gonna happen while we’re gone.’

It’s a long road and no, I don’t have an answer. So, if you stumbled upon this in some search engine in the hopes of finding a solution, I’m sorry I don’t have a clear-cut one for you. I’m figuring it out just like you.

There was a time in my life, childhood, teens, college years, early adulthood, where there may have been issues or drama, but life wasn’t constantly consumed with all of this worry for everything that might or might not happen. Frankly, I want that back. I want that sense of freedom again that came without fear and worry conquering my mind. And I want that freedom to enjoy the few moments in life we get to extend to my wife and son as well, without me tainting it.

It won’t be overnight. It may not always be easy, but dammit, I’m going to work my hardest at it.


Big BreakfastSo…I have high cholesterol.

This isn’t an incredible shocker, as I’ve had high cholesterol most of my life.

A few years ago I was told this after blood work and the doctor told me I needed to go on statins. Not being one for medication (or the side effects that go with it), I decided a change-up to my diet was the route I’d rather go. And I did, for a bit. I fully admit I fell off that wagon over time, though and went right back into some bad habits – you know, like toast with lots of butter almost every morning with my tea, or lots of starches like rice.

I have a new doctor these days, and while she said I’m in fantastic health, she wanted to do some blood work, since it was my first visit to her. The results came back with the same old story – high cholesterol. Fortunately, her reaction was not to prescribe something, but instead to give me notes that it’s time to change-up my diet. “Cut out all sugars and starches” she said in her message.

When I used to get this news in years past, it was different. It was just me I was really worrying about. Now, there’s not only my wife, but our son. In other words I need to make sure I’m around for a while and it’s time to get back on the wagon and stay there in the hopes of bringing the bad cholesterol down.

Side note – wouldn’t you know it, I opened up the blood work results and note from my doctor when it came in the mail over the weekend and was halfway through a big starchy sandwich with chips on the side? Naturally. 😉

So, a few days in, we’re working on the changes. I admit, it’s not easy. We’ve had fish for dinner. We went out to dinner with my parents at a BBQ restaurant known for its fried food and it took my much longer than usual to figure out what to eat. I ended up with chicken that was cooked with rosemary and thyme instead of the fried of barbecued options. Instead of fries or regular potatoes, I went with a sweet potato – no butter, not brown sugar, as it usually would come. I threw a little bit of pepper on it and it was fine. It has its own flavor that tasted pretty good.

Breakfasts have been oatmeal the past few days. Though, I admit, I don’t know if I could do that every day.

I love salads, so I’m thinking there may be a lot of those in my future.

We’ll see what happens in four months when I go for the next blood work test to see if these changes have had any effect. In the meantime, I guess it’s going to take a little discipline and some creativity to make sure I stay on this train of health, for my sake, and the sake of my family.

Any low-cholesterol meal ideas are certainly welcome! 🙂


Whether they know it or not, everyone has a story to tell.

However, some folks never tell their stories because they think they have nothing to say – that their life is too boring.

It’s with that in mind, that I set out to create a photo essay that took something routine and mundane – just a random day in my life – and captured it in photos in an attempt to create a visually appealing story told in images from throughout that terribly ordinary day.

I found that what might be routine or boring to some on the surface turned out to be a day filled with beauty and engaging sights and images, had I just taken the steps back to look at them more often.

Here’s my story:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I know that these days, many people associate Memorial Day as ‘the unofficial start to summer’ or a ‘long weekend’ to barbecue, travel or get together with family and friends.

None of those are inaccurate ways to spend the day. Heck, we took advantage of nice weather and worked on our garden. Just make sure while we enjoy having fun with loved ones, to take a moment and remember those who helped make it possible for us to do that. Those who have fought, who have passed and who have fallen.

Regardless of your politics, leanings or beliefs, it’s not a day about sides. It’s about people. People who put everything on the line and in some cases gave it all, for others. It’s a time to say thank you and to remember that.

I’ve often talked about my fascination with the WWII era, as well as my love of pop culture and comics from that time period. I can’t think of a more suitable depiction for a blog called The Dorky Daddy to symbolize it than with this piece by one of my favorite artists, Darwyn Cooke, and the 1940-era super-hero team The Justice Society, saluting a true hero.

Happy Memorial Day.

JUSTICE-SOCIETY-OF-AMERICA-50-Darwyn-Cooke-Variant

 


Not our actual bookshelf, but boy, doesn't it look pretty?

Not our actual bookshelf, but boy, doesn’t it look pretty?

Storytime is a wonderful and strong tradition to have in your household, and the earlier you start with your kids the better.

We’ve made storytime a nightly habit in our house, starting the week our little guy came home from the hospital. Now almost two, it has become routine for him to go to the bookshelf, grab a few books he wants and then bring them into our room for a family reading on the big bed.

Needless to say in that time, we’ve amassed more than a few that not only he likes, but my wife and I love to read as well.

As much as I often get nostalgic and wish for ‘simpler times’ or the always-idealized ‘old days,’ one of the great things about the current age we live in is that children’s books have come a long way from “Goodnight, Moon,” which, let’s be honest, is not one of my favorites.

These days, children’s books can be just as enjoyable for parents to read as the kids, so these are just a few suggestions that entertain parents as well as the kids that you might want to add to your family bookshelf if you haven’t already.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” & “The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle

It’s the 45th anniversary of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” this year and this book helps to teach days of the week and successive numbers through the timeline of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. It’s one of those classics that is just educational, fun, and absolutely beautiful, as are all of Carle’s books.

“The Grouchy Ladybug,” as her name states, is a bad-tempered bug that doesn’t say please, doesn’t say thank you, and has quite the ego, thinking she’s better than everyone she encounters. The story follows her journey and teaches about concepts like size, time and, of course, good manners.

If you end up really loving Eric Carle’s books (and how can you not?), take a road trip to Amherst, MA to visit the wonderful Eric Carle Museum right over in Amherst. You’ll find his original artwork, as well as get to view the work of guest illustrators on exhibit firsthand. This place is like a mecca for our family.

 

Elephant, Piggie and PigeonBooks by Mo Willems

Mo Willems is a writer and animator and worked on Sesame Street for several years, where he won Emmy Awards, as well as shows on Cartoon Network. He has written so many wonderful books, but these are some of my favorites.

The Elephant and Piggie series – Gerald the Elephant (named after his favorite singer, Ella Fitzgerald) and Piggie are best friends and through these books deal with issues of friendship. Sometimes it’s separation anxiety, other times it’s being nervous about getting invited to a party, or sharing a new toy or ice cream. It’s all done in a conversational, comic book type style with word balloons and they’re just a lot of fun, each with its own great, positive message.

The Pigeon books – They star, obviously, The Pigeon, who usually wants something. Sometimes it’s to stay up late, or to get a puppy, or to drive the bus, and it’s always something he’s not supposed to do, giving the child, who oftentimes is being told “no,” the opportunity and power to say no themselves. These are highly interactive, so kids love them and parents can enjoy the humor, too.

That is Not a Good Idea – It’s done in a style of silent films, with a great twist ending and deals with just what the title says – not so good ideas.

 

How do Dinosaurs Love their CatsHow do Dinosaurs Take Care of their Cats by Jane Yolen

This book asks the question “How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats” and it’s just one of a wonderful series by Jane Yolen. Each book teaches manners and the proper way to act in different situation, this one, of course being if you have cats at home and the proper ways to treat them. There’s books for dogs, parties, playing with friends, cleaning your room; this goes on and on. Great lessons and great images by Mark Teague with a dinosaur name hidden on each page. Many of these types of dinosaurs are well beyond the common ones we come to know, which provides an additional educational element.

 

Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack

It’s about two friends with very different views on life – one optimistic and one not so much. When children are emergent and anxious to start reading, this is a great book. There’s only 5 total words in it. Those words are repeated, so they learn them better and can eventually read on their own. And the story itself is just funny and touching, and shows why it’s nice to look on the bright side of life.

Good News Bad News

 

I Wish That I had Duck Feet and Gerald McBoing Boing by Dr. Seuss

Sure, there are more popular or well-known books by Dr. Seuss, but these are two that really have great lessons. Both are about being yourself.

In “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet,” a little boy daydreams about what it would be like to have different animal parts but realizes the downside of each.

I Wish That I had Duck Feet

In “Gerald McBoing Boing,” a little boy named Gerald can’t speak but is born with the ability to make incredible sounds when he opens his mouth. He gets made fun of by others for his difference, being called Gerald McBoing Boing by bullies, but it’s about Gerald finding his place in the world and being happy with who he is that ultimately finds him happiness.

 

Click, Clack, Moo – Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

We have the collection with the first three books of the series.

Cronin writes these to be entertaining and hilarious, and this book details the trouble of poor Farmer Brown as the animals in his barn begin to type and start becoming literate.

When that happens, they have more bargaining and leveraging power with the farmer when he demands things like milk, eggs, etc. It’s a great book that really teaches about give and take and even peaceful protest.

Click, Clack Moo - Cows That Type

 

Bill the Boy Wonder by Marc Tyler Nobleman

The kids will get sucked in by the beautiful art and images of Batman and Robin by artist Ty Templeton, but the well-researched story by Nobleman tells the real-life story of Bill Finger, the man who created most of Batman’s villains, decided he should wear a cowl and gloves. It was his ideas that Batman what we know today and sadly didn’t get the credit for it. A great true story told in the form of a children’s book.

Bill the Boy Wonder



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