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Posts Tagged ‘kids activities’
By Daddy Danny Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
I know Declan is less than a month old, but I still have to think about his future.
There’s first words, potty training, and teething. There’s first days of school, annoying girlfriends, annoying birthday parties and detention…because he was annoying. There all these things that I will watch him suffer through, I CAN protect him from some things. And some of these things are bad movies and bad television shows. My compiled list is as followed:
Star Wars Episodes I, II, III – Sorry folks, they don’t exist in my house. They add nothing to the Star Wars legacy. They actually take away from the glory that was Star Wars Episodes IV, V, VI. I will start with Episode IV in this house and when he asks about I, II, III I’ll say…maybe if you had enough midi-chlorians I would.
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – I had to suffer through this. You had suffer through this. You could tell Harrison Ford had to suffer through this. Why should Declan suffer through this? Heck, I have my reservations about Temple of Doom, but it’s still a million times better than the Nuke the Fridge scene or Shia Labeouf swinging with the monkeys. And speaking of Shia LaBeouf…
Transformers 1, 2, 3 – I don’t really have to explain myself right? I mean, these movies are pretty bad. I remember getting so upset in the first movie when it took an hour for Optimus Prime to show up…an hour! I almost cried and I’m a grown man. That’s frustrating. Anyway, there is only one Transformers movie. That is the 1986 Transformers: The Movie animated film. If I have to let my kid be marketed to by Hasbro, he might as well get a decent story along with it. And I’m not against Michael Bay. I like other Michael Bay movies, like The Rock and…er…The Rock. And speaking of Michael Bay…
Michael Bay’s Teenage Alien Ninja Aliens or Alien Turtles – I know this movie hasn’t come out yet, but WTF…really…aliens? Thank god for the early 90s movies. Even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time is starting to look better.
Anything past Superman 2 – I don’t really like Superman anyway. He’s too perfect, but I guess that’s the point. Superman I was good, but Superman II was the bomb! All the others…ugh… and Superman Returns was about Superman being a lousy father in the end. He just flies off and leaves his son. Like I want Declan to see Superman as a lousy father.
X-Men 3: The Last Stand – Talk about ruining a franchise. Imagine Declan’s surprise when he witnesses that train wreck.
Matrix 2 and 3 – Much like the Star Wars prequels, these Matrix sequels down right ruin the whole concept of the Matrix. They just crush the ideology of a brilliant idea because somebody wanted to make money.
As Many Reality Shows As Possible – There is nothing valuable about watching celebrities sit around or 13 shows about cake bosses with their midget pitbosses collecting junk from others while trying to sell or remodel their house.
Dora The Explorer – Listen, if I want to jam Spanish down my kids throat, I’ll do it myself thank you very much.
That’s all I can think of for now, but I’m sure when he starts getting interested in movies and shows, I will have a new list to compile.
And I’m not an Elitist, I just don’t want him to waste his time with crap.
By Daddy Clay Friday, September 11th, 2009
Every Thursday at 1pm Central time, the folks around DadLabs World HQ drop what they are doing and head into the studio for our weekly live show. The show runs between 30 minutes and an hour and covers a variety of topics. We’ve been working out the last technical bugs, and now we think we’re ready for you to check it out and let us know what you think. Here’s an expanded look at a couple of the topics we covered in this week’s show. Join us next Thursday at 1CT, text and harass Daddy Brad via Livestream.
Thanks to everybody that watched, congrats to the folks that won free stuff, and Woot! to our sponsors at BabyBjorn.
If you want data of our efforts to avoid being Princess Parents, you need look no further than the birthday celebrations we had for Ri-ri over the past week. On the girly side, we have the present her mother gave her, and the craft project I came up with to kick off her birthday party — decorating jewelry boxes with decoupage.
For the project I went to the craft store and bought tiny brown cardboard boxes in a variety of shapes, thin craft paper in a variety of colors and patterns, decoupage glue (it’s specialized goo that dries into a clear glaze), and a bunch of glittery stickers. You tear or cut the paper into quarter size or smaller bits, glue them to the box, then paint over the paper with another layer of glue. When the glue has dried, you can add stickers for more personalization. (In the future I would drop this last part — it was the most expensive “ingredient” and you have to wait before you can use them.) The materials cost about $5 per kid.
Okay, this project may have you asking some pointed questions about me. So to clear things up, I had never in my f*cking life heard of decoupage before I hit the door of the craft store. A helpful clerk dude with a really long ponytail saw me wandering the aisles like a zombie and took pity on me. Thanks to him, Ri-ri’s party got off to a great start. They loved doing the project and the boxes came out great and were perfect party favors.
Pretty princess-y so far, right? The rest of the party was strictly in accordance with Ri-ri’s wishes. All she asked for was to have five friends over to the community pool, and to eat a bunch of barbecue. Done deal. The barbecue was from Rudy’s, not only because they have solid ‘cue, but also because their group meals are so thoughtfully and completely catered. Tablecloths and serving utensils? A bag of ice? Unmatched.
The high school football game that was on the agenda was a washout (ironic given the drought), but everyone seemed to have a great time. Speaking of football, the non-girly celebration continued the next day as Ri-ri continued our tradition of making the home opener for the University of Texas Longhorns Football team a father-daughter event. Nothing could be better.
Overall, not such a girly birthday after all.
iTunes 9 for Families (From our weekly Tech Dad segment)
One of my biggest technical headaches to date has been managing the multiple family iPods. Both of my older kids have their own Nano and their own profiles/iTunes applications — all linked to my iTunes account for purchasing. This creates lots of time consuming headaches when making sure that I have the media they want on their players, and also archived in a central place.
The latest update of iTunes just made that a ton easier. With the new Home Share feature on iTunes 9, I can link all the libraries and move media without having to connect, synch and re-synch iPods on multiple machines. The kids can now also drag and drop songs from my collection into theirs (like they’ll want my music).
The potential downside is that I have material in my library that is not appropriate for them (thanks Ben Folds and Hellboy). As usual, Apple has included easy to use parental controls. You can restrict access to content via Home Share via the Preferences Menu in iTunes (as opposed to the Parental Controls panel in System Preferences). Set the ratings you want your kid to have access to, then set a password and you’re done. This is a feature I’ve been waiting for and it’s been a huge help to me already.
On the show we also shared our thoughts on Bobcat Goldthwait’s “World’s Greatest Dad,” talked about the dangers of kids and “Reply All,” the Sigg Bottle controversy, a breast pumping Swedish Dad and much more. Hope we’ll see you next week.
By Daddy Clay Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
My wife and I live and die by summer camps. This realization dawned on me as a prepared to drop our five-year-old off for his first day of daycamp. The building where the camp was to be held was somewhat familiar to Coop — the elementary school that his older siblings attend — but it still had to be pretty imposing to a kid who just turned five.
We stood in line for registration and he suddenly seemed so tiny, dwarfed by his backpack. I’m musing over the fact that he’s really only been outside home to a couple different places — the daycare that we helped to found near our home, and his pre-k for the past year — as we edge toward the enthusiastic lady with the clip board and the big cowboy hat.
It strikes me that I am at a moment of significant risk.
If this little boy (understandably) freaks out at the prospect of being dropped off at a semi-strange place populated by decidedly strange (looking) adults, then I am utterly screwed. Like most two-career families, ours depends completely on all the kids attending summer camp all summer for us to preserve anything remotely resembling a work schedule.
That’s why when little Coop summons his courage and walks off in the company of his new “counselor” that as wave of gratitude washes over me. It’s a little act of bravery that I’m really thankful for. I sort of hope that he is unaware of what is at stake. I hope he goes because he thinks there’s something fun going on at this camp deal. Certainly over the next few days, we are overwhelmed with stories of his various triumphs at camp, at it seems like al is well.
Our older two are also off at camp — sleepover camp, no less. This is a big step for Ri-ri, who is only 7 despite having finished the 2nd grade. Yet again she’ll be the youngest kid in the place. I unloaded her trunk in the mall parking lot where we meet the camp bus, and look over to see her struggling with her laundry bag filled with pillows and blankets. On the bus she looks so tiny sitting by herself in an otherwise empty row, that I try the awkwardest parenting trick in the book: “Anybody else here going to be in the Wren cabin? Because that’s where Ri-ri here is going to be!”
A few girls glance back, but nobody moves. Ri-ri, thankfully, is not mortified, but rather sweet. We say a sort of goodbye, and I get the hell out of the way. It becomes clear that this is a correct course of action within ten seconds. I see through the window that she is chatting with the girl in the row in front of her. Within a minute she’s moved up to sit next to her new friend.
I don’t even get to say goodbye to Bubba. He’s off like a shot. No hugs or kisses. He’s just out.
Now each morning at about eleven, I have a ritual, madly searching the hundred or so photos of campers that the camp posts daily (an amazing feature) for signs of the kids. There’s R-ri eating a ‘Smore, jumping on a trampoline, chatting with an older girl and generally looking happy.
But where’s Bubba? Finally, today, there he is having his daily check-in conversation with his counselor. He’s wearing his cool guy shades and looks happy but WHAT THE HELL IS THAT CRAWLING UP HIS LEG? Is it some huge patch of muddy gunk? Oh for the love of…is that a gigantic scab?!? It covers most of his lower body? What on earth has the child done to himself? Well, at least it looks more or less healed over.
There he is again bouncing on the “blob,” hamming it up with his cabin mates, and generally looking like he was made for the place, or vice versa.
They’re all three pretty happy campers, which makes me one lucky dad.
By Daddy Clay Friday, May 15th, 2009
Though he was tiny, limited, fragile and hastily constructed, the little bristle-bot had much to teach me.
A bristle-bot isn’t really a robot, but a cool, tiny, simple machine that’s easy to make, and its skittering motion, is so cool and organic-looking, that it really delights everybody that sees the little Frankenstein. To make one to make one requires a trip to Radio Shack, where you’ll need to buy two things — a “vibrating motor” and a 3v lithium watch battery. The motor is a tiny thing, the kind that make a cell phone vibrate — it spins a small unbalanced weight to create buzz.
To make the bot, cut the handle off of a toothbrush (the bigger the “head” the better). Trim the wires coming off of the motor to about an inch or two in length, then using athletic tape secure the motor to one end of the brush head. Make a tiny tape loop (or double sided), and secure the black wire to the negative side of the battery, then tape the battery to the brush head. Tape the red wire to the positive side of the battery, set the bot on a table and watch it dash around like a beetle.
It only took Bubba and I about five minutes to put this little guy together. He was beside himself, excited that it worked, but also immediately taken by it. It was instantly anthropomorphosed, named, cooed over. Ri-ri and Coop began begging for one.
It was, simply put, a moment to triumphant fathering.
Namely because Bubba and I had been working for weeks on a long-term reading project, one that required him to write over a dozen books and prepare a handful of “book reports.” These reports weren’t papers so much as presentations and demos for the class on a book’s subject. When the boy brought home some book on robots in popular culture, I knew we were going to make a bristle-bot as his report.
Daddy Troy gave me the idea. His kids loved it. I knew Bubba would go nuts over, his classmates would be wowed, and his teacher impressed. Super-dad stuff.
With three kids in activities, and finding time for family, social life — stopping by the the Radio Shack proved to be the toughest part. I put it off for days. Always seemed like I was always running just a few minutes too late leaving work to pick up Coop to have the time for an errand. Finally, I was out of time. The deadline for book reports approached. Now or never.
So even though I was a keynote speaker, and even though the nice organizers of the conference often bragged about how available all the speakers would be throughout the day, and even though I really wanted to talk with the SEO guy,and even though Daddy Troy was doing way more than his share, I ducked out early and headed to Radio Shack.
But once the thing was together it was all worth it.
We even found a perfectly shaped box to pack the bot in (along with component parts of a second — the idea being that he would fabricate one in front of the class). In the morning he packed off with it.
That afternoon I was itching to get the report, but Bubba was already off to practice and my wife and I had a sitter to we could go to the big DadLabs book party (a blog for another day).
The party was a success, and I came home glowing. Bubba heard us come in and chirped form his room (they still do that at 10). She asked how the presentation went, and he fessed up immediately. He’d been showing it to friends, and he had broken it, and lost the components to the second one in the process, so he couldn’t show it to the class.
About half way through his story, I had to step out of the room. I was fuming! Furious. I stood in the front room and swore under my breath. Didn’t he know!? Didn’t he know that I’d made work sacrifices! Didn’t he know that I was proud of that little thing?! Didn’t he know that I was planning on writing about the perfect and quintessential fathering moment on my blog?
He’d just loved the damn thing to death.
So thanks, bristle-bot for making the ultimate sacrifice, and for reminding me that any good moment with your child is reward enough.