All posts tagged: dadstyle

We’ve Entered the FROZEN Tundra

What is it with Frozen? I know people with 4 -6 year-olds went through this last year, but my 3-year-old is quickly catching up. He is obsessed with Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and that insidious song. I mean, do any adults think the movie is amazing? How on earth did they craft something so addictive for kids? Is it immediacy?…that we can conjure the song on phones and parents couldn’t have done that with The Little Mermaid? Would we have gone ape-

3 1/2 Ways to Teach My Toddlers About MLK, Jr.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr Day, and after a conversation I had with some narrow minds over the holidays, I’m choosing to think of lessons from MLK’s life in three segments: Have empathy for people who feel down-trodden Don’t condemn an entire population for the actions of a few. Racial issues are more about socio-economics than skin color. I’m imagining discussing this with my 3-year-old:

Quality Time With My Dog’s Anus (Canine Crisis: The Final Chapter?)

OK, folks. This one’s crude. I’m not catering to my legions of fraternity readers with potty humor. It’s straight-up facts. Maddie is walking and running. She seems unperturbed when her hips occasionally slip and slam on the ground. She just keeps going. The only thing I desperately hope for, by this point, is control of her bladder and bowels. Dear doggy lord: my Maddie is running adequately. I’ll trade further progress in the leg region for any control in her nether regions. We’ve had to “express” her bladder since the beginning of her FCE ordeal. She grows a 3-inch balloon in her gut. We put our fingers behind her ribs and squeeze back and in. Something triggers and her back legs shoot straight out while urine sprays out of her with the force of a super-soaker. Not difficult, merely annoying. But nothing’s as bad as the poop. Before walking returned, the poor dog soiled herself. Bowels emptied onto her tail and legs and she’d try to drag her paralyzed hind-end away. Daily baths were the …

3 Logical Arguments About Religious Extremism (for my Toddlers)

(My kids are extremists. About hot chocolate. Hence the pic.) When I was in college (during the era of dial-up and Toad the Wet Sprocket), I took a lot of philosophy classes. This was at the height of political correctness in Boulder, CO, where the students would rather give up beer and bongs than offend with words. Most courses, regardless the title, would include discussions of universal truths; e.g. “What’s absolutely right or wrong?” My professor for Ancient Philosophy argued that the only universal truth (or universal wrong) is: “Rape, purely and solely for the pleasure of the rapist is wrong.” It’s not that we justified murder, burglary, or playing Miley Cyrus songs in public; but in philosophical logic, if one instance disproves an argument, then it’s no longer a universal truth. Example: Killing is wrong (universal truth) A person runs at you with a knife You kill them in self-defense Therefore, killing is not always wrong (no longer a universal truth) Since the horrendous attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, I’ve thought a lot …

Canine Crisis: Chapter 4 (of 5)

Happy 2015! On our drive to pick up Maddie, my partner and I discussed our worries. “What if she’s no better? It seems a real possibility.” “I don’t know. Let’s wait and see. But I can admit, I don’t want to have a paralyzed dog. We aren’t going to configure wheels under her hind end.” “Nope. That’s no life for her. Or for us.” “But do we?…” “Let’s just see.” We walked into Wizard of Paws. There was Maddie. Her head popped up and she tried to drag herself to us. Frankly, I couldn’t see any difference. Poor dog still soiling herself and dragging legs behind in her own filth. Deb (the Wizard) enthusiastically welcomed us. “Come on in and see what she can do.” She carried Maddie to the mat corner. There, Deb propped Maddie between her own legs. True: Maddie stood. Definite progress. Then Deb supported Maddie on a kidney-bean therapy ball. As we held the contraption still, Deb said, “See? It’s just like human therapy. With these balance balls, all her tiny …

Canine Crisis, Chapter 3

So we took Maddie to Wizard of Paws. I expected a field with dogs in various states of rehab: retired greyhounds trotting around a track, a shallow pool with black labs lounging, two Chihuahuas on pillows (pool-side), surrounded by Taco Bell wrappers. But I forgot about the whole “we don’t board dogs” part. (Except for Maddie). Wizard of Paws is a PT clinic like any for humans (located in a pseudo strip mall) with therapy tables, foam rollers and balance boards. When I walked in with Maddie (in my arms), there was a boxer walking in the aqua-therapy tank. A DOG was walking (and barking proudly) on a treadmill in a whirlpool. I introduced myself and put Maddie down on the wood floor. She dragged herself toward the exit. Deb (the owner) greeted me and was nonplussed by Maddie’s condition. “No problem. We’ll take care of her.” I nervously explained, “Here’s her food, medication, do you want me to show you how to express her bladder, <<more on that in chapter 3>> I’m sure you’ve …

Canine Crisis, Chapter 2

Chapter 2’s “Gavin look” morphs from Chapter 1. The second edition is wide, expressionless eyes with pursed smile. It says, “I’m placating you. Now stop talking and leave.” Google shows three canine acupuncturists serving Manhattan. That such specialists exist surprised me, but then, that there were only three in NYC also surprised me. One of them kindly arrived 24 hours after I called. “Oh, you have kids?” were her first words as Ellison and Colton screamed, running by the door. She was not delighted. Gavin look. “Hm-hmm,” I responded. Off to a great start. She was a driven, direct type who puts non-New Yorkers ill at ease. My partner fled her demeanor by volunteering to play with the kids. Immediately she quizzed me.“Do you have a PT routine for Maddie?” Gavin look. “Hm-hmm,” I nodded. “How many times a day?” “Um…” I tried to sugar coat. “I help her stand and take her outside to pee.” She inserted needles into Maddie’s rump, legs and toes. Maddie didn’t react. After all, her nerves weren’t working. “Hm.” …

2 Ways I Put Christ Back into Christmas. No Kidding.

I’m wrestling with how to put Christ into Christmas for my sons. This is Ellison’s (3yo) first Christmas where he “gets” it. But I’m afraid “getting it” means only, “Santa brings me Rocky and Peter Sam!” (*Friends of Thomas) I’m concerned he’ll be a kid who tears through gifts, ungraciously casting aside Uncle Terry’s educational puzzle, and demands, “Where’s Rocky!?!” (*FOT) At the risk of sounding FOX-like, I’m waging my own war on Christmas. I won’t allow my kids to take part in our seasonal consuming frenzy without understanding what’s important and why we celebrate.

Canine Crisis, Part 1

So this post requires audience participation. Please contort your face with me: wide-eyed, mouth-slightly-agape and vaguely smiling. You’re stupefied when you’ve just been told you need to make a $5,000 dollar deposit for a medical procedure. For your dog. It’s a look that says, “I’m sorry, whaaaaaaat?” It’s a laughline . Cue audience tittering. Let’s call it “The Gavin Look”. Several weeks ago, our kids and sitter were playing normally with our dog, Madison (Maddie). Suddenly Maddie yelped and lay down. The kids ran toward her and, when she tried to escape, she drug her back legs behind her. Just dragged them. When I got home, I saw she was, indeed, paralyzed. I took her to a 24-hour dog hospital. (Only in NYC). Before leaving, my partner said, “If they have to put her down, don’t let it happen tonight. We have to say goodbye.” Gulp. I walked into the hospital carrying Maddie and said, “Uh…my dog’s back legs aren’t working.” Within seconds, a vet led me to an exam room. After a quick look, …

The Single Measure of Parenting Success

I never fell apart. I felt bereft for hours and sad for days; but what most strikes me about the weeks and months after my mom’s unexpected death was that I never fell apart. (I got “the call” 7 years ago, today.) I was sad and lonely at the thought of facing life without either of my parents (Dad died when I was 8, plus I’m an only child). And I was overwhelmed by planning a funeral and closing an estate. But I never fell apart. As parents we stress about our kids measuring up to our expectations. We “just want the best for them”, (but secretly hope they’ll be the smartest and most talented and most accomplished…oh, and happiest.) We want them to win at Field Day and avoid broken hearts. We hope they’ll “go” Ivy League, find the perfect mate and live better lives than ours.