FAQ: How To Survive A Three-year-old

FAQ: How To Survive A Three-year-old

“This is the best age,” said an elderly woman at the park, smiling at my three-year-old son. I exchanged a polite smile. But what I really wanted to say is “Are you kidding me? This creature is a monster.” When my son turned three, bad behavior escalated to a miserable level. I was caught off guard because I bought into the myth of the “terrible twos” and thought I was doing well...
A Beach Guide for the Pale Family

A Beach Guide for the Pale Family

Pasty people visiting the Florida panhandle is a recipe for a roasted epidermis. My pale family burns when we cross the state line. So why do we go? We want to swim in the ocean, play on the beach, and sleep in sand-filled hotel beds like any other family. We wanna make memories by dressing in all white for family photos so we look like creepy cult members. If pale families are gonna survive the...
Thanks For The Unsolicited Parenting Advice, Seriously

Thanks For The Unsolicited Parenting Advice, Seriously

Thank you for the advice. You have obviously picked me out as a parent in need of caregiving tips. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy, demanding cashier job to offer me parenting wisdom. I know you didn’t have to do this. I expected to pass unnoticed throughout the 15 items or less line but you took the time to inquire about my parenting abilities. Thank you. Your questioning...
Helicopter Parents, Tiger Moms, and Free Range Dads, Oh My!

Helicopter Parents, Tiger Moms, and Free Range Dads, Oh My!

Last weekend, my wife and I took my son to the playground. As we arrived, an older girl was climbing a curved, metal ladder that extended to a platform about five feet high. After studying her, I could tell my son was eager to climb. He shuffled his hands on the metal rails and lifted his feet to the first rung. His two-year-old motor skills were developed just enough to maintain balance. I kept...
The People’s Shorts: Raising Cargo Awareness

The People’s Shorts: Raising Cargo Awareness

It’s time someone stood up for functional clothing. It’s time someone spoke out against intolerance towards pocket aficionados. It’s time someone showed support for those who love to carry freight against their thighs. It’s time for someone to champion the cargo short. Every hour a pair of cargo shorts are tossed into a garbage bag and sent to a thrift store. They sit in a pile,...
5 Stages of Moving With Small Children

5 Stages of Moving With Small Children

I love moving with small children. It’s no problem as long as you enjoy exploring new levels of exhaustion. I learned during our recent move that August is an ideal time. In the brutal heat, you will consider leaving your whining children behind. You will discover who you really are when you slam your thumb in the truck door. Make sure your mother-in-law or someone else you wish to impress is...
Why Parents Need To Play

Letting Loose In The Bounce House: Why Parents Need To Play

On Wednesday mornings, a few minutes before ten o’clock, my two-year-old son and I arrive at the YMCA. I restrain him from escaping my lap while wrestling off his shoes. Once free, he darts across the shiny floor to the bounce house. Small bodies scramble through the netted door, while screams echo off the cinderblock walls. A pack of children jump and tumble causing their arms, legs, and torso...
A Prayer for Parents of Small Children (no. 1)

A Prayer for Parents of Small Children (no. 1)

God, make me an instrument of thy patience. Where there is sleep deprivation, provide long uninterrupted naps. Where there is destruction, allow acceptance of messiness. Where there is frustruation, let me take deep breaths. Where there is terror, remind me life is fragile and never was under my control. Where there is defeat, remind me tomorrow is a new day. Where there is isolation, remind me...
Teaching Children to Value Kindness

Teaching Children to Value Kindness

Note:  This is my response to The Today Parenting Team challenge. The current challenge invites writers to answer the following question:  How do you teach your children to value kindness? If my son does not get accepted into Harvard or win a Pulitzer, I will not be bothered, but if he fails to become a kind person, I will be dissatisfied. I consider it my responsibility as a parent to keep...
Toddlers and Spiritual Lessons

Unexpected Teachers: Toddlers and Spiritual Lessons

I triple check stove knobs before leaving the house, recount pages in stapled assignments, and proofread text messages long after hitting the send button. At my worst, in the middle of the night, I lie awake debating whether or not I closed the garage door. My desire for control pervades my daily life; it ranges from stove knobs to completing tax forms to remaining hydrated. I desire control so...