Category / Parenting

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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Pictures of blogger's mother, wife, mother-in-law and two daughters.

1. NOT SO PREPARED. All my life I have been surrounded by brilliant women. My mother’s prodigious memory enabled her to recall every detail of moments from our family’s past that I could barely recall. My big sisters share the same razor-sharp intelligence, and in my school days I benefited from their tutoring. My wife’s profound insights into what makes people tick helps me navigate every relationship in my life. My mother-in-law’s encyclopedic knowledge of an array of topics makes her as valuable a resource as Google. So did being surrounded by so much female brainpower prepare me for the next generation of women in my life — one quick-witted daughter and another scientifically inclined one who outsmart me at every turn? Simply put: IT ABSOLUTELY DID NOT!!!

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father in the scale of human evolution

1. PREHISTORIC TERMS. Every time I say “junior high” instead of “middle school” or “stereo” instead of “sound system,” my daughters look at me as if I’m so ancient I belong somewhere between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnan man in that scale of human evolution.

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Babies not allowed to sleep in parent's bed, dog was.

1. CANINE SUPERIORITY. Our kids never slept in our bed. Not sure why the dog has to.

2. FLEXIBLE FEATURES. At the dinner table, my wife and daughters can entertain each other by arching one eyebrow, making their earlobes wiggle and flaring their nostrils. I feel horribly deficient for being capable of only one such trick – curling my tongue. No one is impressed.

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Daughters in big-occasion dresses

1. NO REPEATS. Dresses my daughters select for formal dances may come into their lives with a bang, but they go out with a whimper. So these unsuspecting dresses should be forewarned: Just because you will help these girls earn all kinds of accolades, like “You look TOTALLY AMAZING!” and “You’re INCREDIBLY GORGEOUS,” doesn’t mean you won’t spend months at the bottom of their closets in a wrinkled heap. And when my eldest tossed a past prom dress into the bin we set aside for goodwill donations, she was dumbfounded when her cost-conscious father tried to rescue the poor thing. “Dad, what are you doing?” she asked. “Don’t you get that a big-occasion dress can’t be ever be repeated?!” (Trust me: she did not provide that information when I balked at the price tag.)

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Two girls with paternal and maternal grandfather.

1. TOUGH ACTS TO FOLLOW. Throughout our lives, my wife, kids and I have continually marveled at how loving, gentle, patient and devoted my father and father-in-law are. So on this Father’s Day, I have three things to say to my children’s grandfathers: 1. I love you both. 2. Thank you. 3. Why do you always set the bar for fathering so high? (Seriously, try to remember that I, unlike you, am not a member of “The Greatest Generation”!)

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Father is trendy too

1. SERENDIPITOUS TRENDSETTING. Having a fashionista in the house helps me gain all kinds of insights I never would have discovered on my own. Recently when my oldest daughter was sitting next to me, she pointed at my left hand and asked, “Why did you get a silver watch?” I didn’t, of course. My wife picked it out for me, based on my two criteria – that it be light-weighted and have a large day indicator (since I hate heavy accessories, can’t ever remember the date and can hardly see). Of course, I had no idea why my daughter would have any objection to this handsome new watch, so she had to explain, “It’s silver and your wedding band is gold. That’s mixing metals…

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Father and two daughers at a campground

1. S’MORES NO MORE. The days when my now teenaged daughters were willing to spend an entire weekend camping with their dad are long gone. As much attraction as fishing, canoeing and making S’mores by the campfire might have held, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I can no longer compete with malls and the endless supply they provide of clothing stores, ice cream shops and boys. (So now the tent is stored deep in the garage — it and me hoping it can come out of mothballs when they have kids!)

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Yearbook photographs

1. YESTERYEAR YUKS. To counter my bathroom mirror’s sad daily evidence of how much I’ve aged, I try to take comfort in remembering what a handsome young lad (at least I imagined!) I used to be. Too bad the only support I have for that contention are my high school and college yearbooks. And breaking those out sends my teenaged daughters into fits of hysterical laughter. I have to believe when they look at my graduation photos, it’s just the high school leisure suit and big glasses that they find so ridiculous. But I don’t test that assumption. Age has brought me one good thing – the wisdom to know when not to ask questions.

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A daughter's wall posters evolve from boy musicians to beefcake.

1. SCARY HUNKS. Who knew pictures on a bedroom wall could be so intimidating? But I sure started to worry (okay, panic) when the posters in my daughters’ bedroom of fresh-faced prepubescent boy singers were taken down and replaced with square-jawed, manly actors with five o’clock shadows and scarily suggestive twinkles in their eyes. For my own peace of mind, I probably should have recognized that teasing sign on the door – “No parents allowed” – as wise advice.

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