Father misses when his daughters trick or treated.

1. TOUGH HOLIDAY TRANSITIONS. I’m not sure what was harder – Christmases after I stopped believing in Santa, or Halloweens after my kids’ stopped dressing up and trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. Probably the latter. And yes, it’s true, they still sometimes go to costume parties around this time of year, but when they head off to their friends’ homes for those, I don’t get to hold their hands leading them up to the house, reassure them if any other kids are wearing particularly scary get-ups, or most importantly (for me) get to steal any of the Reese’s peanut-butter cups or Butterfingers (my faves!), they might get as loot. But I realize my opportunities for such joy have not been completely lost. So yes, even though my daughters are still only in high school, I’m putting out the advance warning now to their future husbands, whoever they may be, so that they will have plenty of time to get used to the idea: Your kids’ maternal grandpa will be honing in on your chaperoning trick-or-treaters responsibilities!

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Dad uses one shampoo, daughters many.

1. NARROWER PRODUCT SET. To wash my hair every morning, all I need is one brand of shampoo. But the shower rack my daughters use is stocked with one that promises “radiant color,” another that delivers “nutritive solutions,” and yet another that produces “luscious volume.” And that’s just the shampoos. Right alongside them are an equal variety of conditioners that provide “hair therapy,” “daily moisture,” and “multi-task repairs.” The females in my house clearly don’t use all of them at once, but I don’t know how they choose which ones to one apply on any given day. Maybe they like being able to go wherever their moods take them on a particular morning, or perhaps they have a defined system for cycling through all those options over the course of a week. All I know is that I’d be overwhelmed by that many choices. But perhaps I should be more open-minded and stock my medicine cabinet with a variety of shaving creams and gels that so I could have the option for “sensitive skin treatment” on one day,” “soothing aloe” on the next, and on the day after that, “extra moisturizing.” Sounds like a whole world of possibility opening up, followed immediately by the “whoosh” of a door shutting. Why? Because I know that is never going to happen.

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Father with carload of kids

1. FULLY AWARE. It’s often been said that people don’t appreciate what they have until they’re about to lose it. I certainly didn’t think chauffeuring my kids would fall into that category. But now that my eldest is on the verge of getting her license, I don’t complain when my daughters and their friends ask me to taxi them around town. I know I’m about to lose my only opportunity to discover what’s going on with their lives!

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Blinders seem better than Google glasses.

1. ONE THING AT A TIME. I have never bragged about being a multi-tasker because I know I am wholly incapable of doing more than one thing at a time. If I’m reading or doing work at home, I need complete silence. Much to my kids’ disappointment, I can’t have music on in a room where I am trying to think because it’s too distracting. If someone tries to talk to me when I am concentrating, I inevitably respond with an annoyed look and tone. To send the appropriate signal when I am deep into single-tasking, I am seriously considering wearing the same kind of blinders that racehorses do. That’s why I am so excited that Google glasses might become a thing. If all the multi-taskers start wearing that ridiculous contraption, I am sure my wearing blinders won’t look so preposterous!

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Father and daughter talking with no electronics.

1. TOTAL ATTENTION. Nothing equals the joy that comes when you can have an uninterrupted conversation with your daughters at dinner because they forgot to recharge their smartphones.

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Scene from A Few Good Men.

1. BETTER LEFT UNSAID. When it comes to finding out what goes on at high school parties today, Jack Nicholson on the stand in A Few Good Men might as well have been talking to me: “You want the truth. You can’t handle the truth!”

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PicFrame (52)

1. PITY APPRECIATED. My youngest is such a gentle soul, I can never tell if she takes walks with me because she genuinely enjoys spending time with her old man or if she simply recognizes when her father is in desperate need of some filial attention. (My wise wife’s advice at such times: Why question her motives? Just enjoy the walk!)

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Kids on school bus are scarier than a drill sergeant

1. SHARPER TONGUES. Now that the school year has commenced again, it is time to confront once more the startling reality: The kids on your children’s school buses could make the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket cry.

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Typical dad relaxing in recliner.

1. REMAIN BLISSFULLY IGNORANT. When you catch your wife watching you and then nodding to herself as if she’s just resolved something, if her response to your question of “Watcha thinking?” is “Nothing much,” you will undoubtedly be better off if you decline to probe any further.

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Dad has to be careful driving to protect daughter's make-up kit

1. CRITICAL SUITCASE. From movies, I know how carefully a military aide to the President guards the briefcase known as “the football,” which contains the codes to launch nuclear weapons. In our family, we have a case that is just as vigilantly protected – my eldest’s make-up kit. On a recent trip, it had its own seat in our car, and before we hit the road, she carefully strapped it in with a seat belt to make sure we would not jostle its precious contents – which she spends a fortune replenishing. At least our case can release good into the world – enabling my daughter to feel great about how she looks. (Of course, she’s so beautiful she does not need any cosmetic embellishments, but I’ve accepted the make-up-free look is not how her particular friend group rolls.) As instructed, I drove cautiously with that precious cargo in the back, feeling reassured that the only thing the contents of that important case have the capability to destroy is our family budget.

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