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Just Call Me Dad

Fatherhood in the 21st Century


Archive for May, 2010


That is really the best way to describe the Day Out With Thomas event that occurred on May 8th at Calgary Heritage Park. This event, complete with a life-sized Thomas The Tank Engine pulling passenger cars, was a big hit with my wife, my son, and me. If you have a child that is even remotely interested in trains, I highly suggest that you find a Day Out With Thomas event near you.

The main attraction, of course, is the train ride with Thomas, but there were a number of other activities as well:

There was a story station where kids could sit on the floor and have Thomas & Friends books read to them. Between books they watched Thomas & Friends episodes on TV.

There was a GIANT merchandise tent where you could buy Thomas & Friends stuff.

There was an activity tent with wooden railway play tables, face-painting, temporary tattoos, coloring stations, and a stage with a live band.

Photo opportunities with Sir Topham Hatt.

Photo opportunities with Thomas.

We arrived at 10 am for our 11:40 train ride, and had no problem filling our day. One of the best things is just watching Thomas chug around the track – it was quite surreal, even for me to see. We stayed until about 3pm when Nick just passed out from exhaustion. We had kept the event a surprise, and the second he saw Thomas he just started vibrating from excitement.

Overall, the whole event was done very well, but there were some things that really impressed me. There were photo ops with both Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt – but you actually used your own camera. So many events like today this force you to line up and pay them for the pictures. I snapped dozens of images, and was able to select the best to print off and add to my photo album.

Here is a 2 minute video I took of Thomas:

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

I had another post planned for today, but a recent post by C.C. Chapman from Digital Dads made me rethink my plans. C.C.’s post was about a dance competition that he attended at which many of the elementary school age girls were dressed in fishnet stockings, tight boy shorts, and were performing very suggestive dance moves.

C.C. rightly (IMHO) suggested that he would refuse to allow his daughter to wear those outfits or perform those moves, despite the fact that dance is becoming a passion for his daughter.

Have You Been Tested As A Parent?

I haven’t, at least not in this way. Would I refuse to allow my son to do something that he wants to do, that his peer group is allowed to do, and that other parents in my circle think is okay because I don’t like it? I hope so.

One of the reasons I love writing about my experiences as a dad so much is because it forces me to sit down and think about parenting in a non-reactive way and to play out scenarios in my head and try to imagine what my response would be in those situations.

What Are Your Limits?

What I find so interesting about this story is that if just one of the dads involved had stood up and said “Hey, this isn’t right” this dance may never have occurred. Surely the moms and dads of those little girls knew that this was wrong, but they went along with it, not wanting to seem like a prude or go against the grain or draw unwanted attention to themselves. If just one person had objected, the others might have been shamed into rethinking that this was a good idea.

But not one of them did.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

I took two flights last weekend with my wife and son. I have heard many horror stories about traveling in airplanes with kids, so I took action early on to try and make sure the flight went well. None of these tips are sourced from experts, but they did work for me. If you have any tips that you would like to add, please leave a comment.

Talk About Flying

As soon as I booked the flights I started talking about flying with Nick. I explained that we would go to the airport, explained the check-in procedure, explained security, and explained boarding. I continued to do these things as I talked about the trip.

Experience Flying

I made flying a part of playtime. I would pick Nick up, make engine noises, shake and vibrate, and then run forward flying him up into the air. I would bounce him and say “Yeah! Bouncing is fun!”

Including Flying At Story time

I tell Nick an adventure story or two each night before he falls asleep. I tried to make at least one of them include flying.

Take a Drink With You

Kids don’t know to swallow when their ears pop from altitude changes, and the drinks aren’t served until you get to altitude, so take a drink onto the plane with you (buy it past the security checkpoints). I told Nick to have a drink when his ears started to feel funny.

That’s it. Everything went perfectly for us, no crying, so screaming, and no fear. He loved flying and wants to do it again as soon as he can. I can’t promise that these tips will work for you, but they definitely worked well for me.