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Just Call Me Dad

Fatherhood in the 21st Century

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Archive for October, 2008

With Halloween coming upon us quickly, I thought today might be a good time to remind everyone to make sure that we keep the safety of our kids in our minds. I received an email from the National Fatherhood Initiative with a list of things to watch out for.

You can view the list here: http://www.fatherhood.org/de102908.asp

Well, Nick managed to get his first goose egg on his forehead. He was running down the hallway, turned around, tripped over his feet and took a nosedive right into the corner of the wall. The tears appeared instantly, and the screaming followed closely behind. (He’s okay of course, or else I wouldn’t be writing about it, I’d be at the Hospital.)

It was not a pretty experience. I wasn’t in the room when it happened (he was playing with Mom), but I saw the aftermath. Oddly, I was listening to a radio program this afternoon at work, and the commentator was talking about how he felt when his son broke his leg while skiing. Then I get home, and my kid gets an injury.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way comparing a broken leg to a bump on the head. And I know that there are plenty of parents who have much worse things happen to their kids. All that I’m saying is that this is the first time that I have experienced anything like this, and frankly, it’s scary and sickening at the same time.

My wife and I were talking about the incident after he went to bed, and frankly, we evaluated our performance as parents. We have a son. In the coming years he will probably fall out of the tree in our front yard, fall off his bike, fall of a dirt bike, get hit with a baseball, etc, etc, etc… There is no shortage of ways for kids to hurt themselves in this world, and that doesn’t even take into account the negligence of others. There is a lot of talk about ‘keeping your children safe’, but that is really just a euphemism for ‘doing everything you can to minimize their risk of injury’.

We assessed the situation, there was nothing that we really could have done to prevent it, and comforted him after the fact. I don’t think there was anything else that we could have done. By morning, the swelling will probably be gone, and life will go on. I just hope we can handle a skinned knee this well.

I’m not about to start using this blog to comment on the election, my favorite party, who the next President should be, or any of that type of thing. I know that Joe The Plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher, is a bit of a controversial figure. Some people love him, some people hate him. Frankly, I don’t care about his politics at all.

I mention him on this blog because I heard a radio interview with him this afternoon, and he made an impact on me. It wasn’t because of his political views; it was because of his dedication to his son.

During the interview, he mentioned his son more times than I could count. He wasn’t name dropping, but as he told the story about the past week and all the attention he had been receiving there was a common theme; how it affected his child. Joe talked about hiding in his living room with his son, counting the news trucks parked on his driveway. He talked about how his son felt about the attention he had been receiving. He mentioned that when the original incident happened he had been outside playing football with his son, and how their game was being interrupted by the media frenzy on the street.

The interviewer asked Joe about his background, due to some claims that had been made that he wasn’t really a plumber. Joe’s response really made me think. He said that he and his wife had divorced, and that the mother had custody of the child. In order to be near his son, he had moved whenever his ex-wife had moved, often across state lines. This repeated moving had caused him to change jobs regularly and different state’s regulations had prevented him from getting his professional license.

Think about that for a second. This guy had quit jobs and slowed his own career goals, moving across state lines simply to be near his son so that he could be a part of his child’s life.

My parents are divorced, and my Dad took a job in a different province, seemingly with no thought as to how it would affect me. The world is full of children whose live-in parents can’t be bothered to spend time with them, ask them about their day, or help them with their homework. Thousands of children every year are abandoned by their parents in times of divorce, when mom or dad feels it’s more important to spend time with their new lover than with their own kids.

Then there’s Joe. He found himself a high profile figure in the middle of a hotly contested political race. There are a thousand ways that he could have tried to spin this to make himself famous and try to get ahead. Instead, on Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show, he chose to frame his experiences by mentioning his son.

I live in Canada, and I have absolutely no stake in this election, but Joe The Plumber has made a positive impact on me. He has shown by example the type of dedication that we should have to our kids. In my first post on this blog I wrote “No matter what our position in life, when someone asks what we do, we should always be most proud to say – “The most important people in the world… Just Call Me Dad.”” I think it’s pretty obvious that Joe Wurzelbacher feels that way too.

What A Wonderful Weekend!

Since I’ve been away for so long, there have been a couple of things that have happened that I haven’t yet had a chance to write about. This post will be my “catch-all:catch-up” entry, and should bring everyone back up to speed.

First and foremost, Nick is walking around the house like crazy. For a couple of weeks now he’s been standing up beside objects and taking small steps between the couch and coffee table, but nothing that I would really call walking. Last week he walked from a chair, clean across the living room, to the coffee table – a distance of about six feet. Now, I’m not proclaiming that he was ready for a marathon or anything, but it’s hard to discount that type of distance as anything but walking. Once he did that, there was no stopping him. He headed off down the hallway, into the bedrooms, flailing his sippy cup in his arms. It’s pretty cool, and it’s a sobering reminder of how quickly he is growing and changing. I can easily see myself being one of those delusional parents that still visualizes his 16 year old son as a 5 year old kid driving a Big Wheel down the street.

We reveled in that for a couple days, then got ready for a weekend of company as a few relatives came down for a visit. It turned out wonderfully. One of our guests was an 8 year old niece, and it just happened that a ‘Pumpkin Festival’ was taking place at a Market Garden about twenty minutes out of the city. We all piled in the truck and headed out there. I have never seen so many pumpkins! The farm had literally thousands of pumpkins, from miniature to giant, and from white to black. It was really amazing. In addition to face painting, hot dogs, and a wonderful squash soup (all for free), the location provided countless backdrops for pictures. We took over 100 images in the span of an hour (I have a Nikon D40, and hit the shutter button constantly). I think one of them will likely become our Christmas photo, as the lighting was incredible. Honestly, it was one of the nicest family days that I think I have ever had. We bought a few pumpkins for our Halloween, and brought them back to the city. I used parking in a field and hauling pumpkins as justification for owning the truck (an F350). I’m not sure that my wife bought it 🙂

The final item is insignificant in comparison, but I have added a new blog to the blogroll on the site. I became familiar with GeekDad last week, and have fallen in love with the site. It’s well written, but more importantly, it covers a really wide range of topics, something I strive for here as well. It was recently named one of the Internet’s top 10 Blogs, so I’m not alone in my feelings. I hope you all check it out.

Welcome me back to the world of the living!

After two weeks of colds, sinus infections, pink eye and general malaise I am finally starting to feel like myself again. Nick is also doing much better, and since he’s the one that started this Dance of Diseases, that’s a good thing. Hopefully he’s worked his way through the infection tickle trunk at the Day Care and is ready to move forward in good health. Both my wife and I missed a bunch of work, but truthfully it was nice to be home with him again.

I should be back to a normal writing schedule very shortly.

I’ve been quite under the weather lately, and haven’t really had much motivation to write anything. I haven’t forgotten about all of you, hopefully I’ll be feeling better soon and will come up with something poignant, witty, and timeless. 🙂

About a month ago when Nick was fighting a cold, I posted some tips to help parents deal with sick kids. In that article I mentioned that you shouldn’t give cold medicine to young kids, even if the medicine was intended for them. I also provided some links to articles about that very topic. Interestingly, the debate has popped up in the news again as a group of Pediatricians has called on the FDA to ban children’s cough and cold medicine.

I heard about this on the radio today, and did a little bit of digging. It seems that the FDA has strengthened it’s position a little, but has declined to ban the products outright. You can read more about the story here.