Dear Jack: What I Was Doing When I Was Your Age, 30 Years Ago, Back in the Summer of 1989

8 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

For every year older you get, it seems that much closer to my memories of my old childhood; since my memories are that much more elaborate the older I was.

So for me, it’s pretty easy to think back 30 years ago to the summer of 1989.

I remember I attended baseball camp. The main thing I remember is that Jonathan Shugart got hit in the head with a baseball.

I remember that was the summer that our town got a Taco Bell; because I went there for the first time in my life, after baseball camp; during the first week it opened.

And I definitely remember our whole family going to see the original Batman movie in the theater.

I remember that I was excited about starting 3rd grade, because it would be at a new school, where you were able to pick juice instead of just milk.

You’re going to have a great school year. I can tell you from experience.

I also can tell you that you won’t forget this summer, just as I didn’t forget my summer preceding 3rd grade. I’m sure getting the Jeep will help ensure that!

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Holly: Messy Hair, You Don’t Care

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

There’s a popular saying these days for girls: “Messy hair, don’t care.”

Since we got our Jeep at the beginning of this summer, you’ve been somewhat conditioned to adopt this motto.

Because when you’re riding in the backseat of a Jeep Wrangler when the top is off (something I’ve yet to do), your hair is basically constantly blowing the entire time.

I think this picture of you illustrates this pretty well. You have messy hair, but you don’t care.

You are happy.

Granted, you have a funny habit of falling asleep every time we drive with the top off!

Love,

Daddy

When Can Kids Start Drinking Coffee?

Whenever you need a quick energy boost, a hot cup of coffee will do the trick. While most adults enjoy drinking a cup or two of coffee every day, it also prompts a question — when can kids, aged 12 and below, start drinking coffee?

Drinking coffee can give you health benefits, such as lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and protection against liver cirrhosis. If you’re amazed by the benefits of coffee to your health, try visiting Home Grounds for more coffee-related information.

However, the question still remains, is it safe for your young ones?

Why Do Kids Suddenly Want Coffee?

Sometimes, it makes sense that teenagers consume coffee to get up early or stay up late to study for exams. But, nowadays, why do young kids suddenly want to drink coffee?

If your kid had been rushing you with the question of whether he or she is old enough to drink coffee, it might be because of the booming trend of coffee. This trend includes:

  • Coffee being added in sweet drinks, such as caramel macchiato floats, cotton candy coffee, and pumpkin spice frappuccino.
  • The prominence of coffee shops and cafes.
  • The abundance of social media influence.

Does It Stunt Your Child’s Growth?

There’s a common claim that allowing your children to drink coffee can stunt their growth, as it’s claimed that the beverage affects the children’s calcium absorption. However, the truth is, coffee does not have that effect on kids.

For example, In Scandinavian countries, children start to drink coffee at a rather young age compared to the United States. However, when you compare the average heights in both countries, the growth stunt claim may seem not to correlate at all.

In Sweden, the average height of adult males is 5’10,” and adult females average at 5’6”. While in the United States where it’s commonly claimed, the average height of males is 5’9” and adult females average at 5’3”.

What Are Its Effects?

Although coffee doesn’t really affect a child’s growth, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s without effects. Most people drink coffee because of its caffeine content — a natural stimulant that blocks adenosine receptors in your brain.

Adenosine is a chemical created in the brain that binds to the adenosine receptors. This binding slows down the body’s nerve cell activity and causes drowsiness. However, when you drink coffee, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors instead of adenosine. As a result, your nerve cell no longer identifies adenosine, as caffeine already took up all the receptors.

However, for a child that’s already awake and active, this can lead to caffeine-induced hyperactivity or insomnia. Children that drink too much coffee can also develop irritability, anxiety, nausea, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeat, and increased nervousness. In general, excessive caffeine intake can make a child jumpier or prone to tantrums.

Thus, it’s essential to know how much caffeine is enough for your child. However, there are no studies that talk about caffeine intake in children. Instead, most of these studies focus on adult caffeine consumption.

he recommended caffeine consumption for adults is about 200 to 300 mg (milligrams) per day. For example, the average-sized coffee cup can hold about 8 ounces of fluid and can contain around 95mg of caffeine. It’s also essential to know that espresso will have more caffeine content at 64mg of caffeine per ounce than a regular cup of coffee.

When Should They Start?

Now that you know a thing or two about coffee and caffeine’s effect on children, you might be wondering when should you allow your kids to start drinking coffee. However, there really is no perfect time to allow your children.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to wait until your kid is about 12 years old. The only important thing to do is to watch your child’s coffee consumption. Remember, there’s a significant difference between allowing sweet treats and a daily cup of coffee.

Additionally, you should also be aware that caffeine is an addictive substance. If your child becomes caffeine dependent, you should notice withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours, such as headaches or sluggishness. However, it’s essential to note that the addiction is caused by caffeine, which is a substance not only found in coffee but also sodas and energy drinks.

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to coffee consumption, moderation is the key. Keep in mind that coffee isn’t the only source of caffeine in your child’s diet. Also, always make sure that he or she is not having too much of any.

In addition, you should also avoid giving your child any beverage with too much sugar and caffeine less than 5 hours before bedtime. Keep your kids happy and healthy by teaching them how to be responsible coffee drinkers.

Our 11th Wedding Anniversary: A Muddy Jeep Wrangler Ride and a Quaint Meal Out in My Hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama

After staying overnight as a family at the Hilton, I walked across the parking lot to work Friday morning; which was our actual 11th wedding anniversary. Then once I put in my 8 hours, we drove a quick 3 hours to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama to spend our anniversary weekend.

Quite predictably, we went out Saturday morning to go looking for trouble in the Jeep, which we found a little too easily.

With the top off, we embarked on an unmarked dirt road full of questionable mud puddles. I didn’t consider that the mud will inevitably end up getting slung off the tires and inside the Jeep.

I was especially proud of the blob of mud that landed on the dashboard, right next to my hand on the steering wheel. My plan was to keep it there pretty much permanently, but with the hot July sun, it didn’t take too long to dry, harden, and fall off after a few more bumps in the Jeep.

That evening, my wife and I had the rare privilege of having free babysitters (family, of course!) to watch and feed our kids while we disappeared for a solid four hours.

My sister had suggested a mom-and-pop Mediterranean place called Fontana’s. It was exactly what we were looking for, but didn’t realize existed. It was the epitome of the word quaint; and therefore it was perfect.

I am already looking forward to going back there next weekend when we are back in town for my 20th high school reunion, which will be held just down the street from the restaurant.

So there you go. That’s the best way for a husband and wife to spend their 11th wedding anniversary.

Maybe one day we’ll go somewhere without the kids. But honestly, as long as the kids are young, we might as well let them have some fun too!

Our 11th Wedding Anniversary Staycation in Franklin, Tennessee at the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs Hotel

What’s the best way for you and your spouse to celebrate your 11th wedding anniversary? Clearly, with your two kids at the Hilton right next to the building where you work.

At least, that was the case for me.

So I was able to just leave my Jeep right there in the parking lot and walk over to the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs hotel to spend July 4th with my family for the holiday- and for my wife and I to officially celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary; which was actually on July 5th.

We also arranged for our close friends Mohamad and Lena, along with their daughter who is our own daughter’s age, to stay on the same hall.

When it came time to decide where to go out for dinner, there weren’t a whole lot of restaurants open on the July 4th holiday; so naturally, we chose House of India. My wife and I loved it so much we decided we will definitely go back when it is just the two of us.

As a 38 year-old man, I just don’t end up in a swimming pool much these days. However, on July 4th in Tennessee, it gets so hot that if you’re going to be outside for any reason, it better be because you’re in a swimming pool.

I forgot how much fun swimming in a pool can be, especially when you’re entertaining kids.

Adjacent to the Executive Lounge (where I ended up having breakfast the next morning), there is huge deck where you can see all the way to Nashville in one direction, and all the way to Spring Hill where we actually live, in the other.

So for our 4th of July fireworks show, we had quite the view!

Staying at the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs hotel was definitely the right call for us on July 4th!

And for our actual anniversary on July 5th, we made our way to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama; where my wife and I actually had a night out by ourselves.

Stay tuned for the other half of this story…

Dear Jack: You Now Own a 16 Year-Old T-Shirt with My Face on It, with My Name in Thai

8 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

We spent last weekend at Nonna and Papa’s in Alabama, at the same house I grew up in.

After you took a shower on Sunday morning, you realized you didn’t have a clean t-shirt to wear

I walked over my old bedroom to take a quick look at the t-shirts hanging up in the closet.

Instantly, I discovered the perfect t-shirt for you to wear:

Back in college, I had recorded 3 different albums of songs I wrote.

For the cover art on the first album in 2003, I traced a photo of myself as the logo.

Then, that summer of 2003 when I was teaching English in Thailand, I gave one of my CD’s to a friend there.

Accordingly, they had a t-shirt made with that logo of my face, with my name in Thai underneath it.

(Unfortunately, the size of the shirt didn’t come close to fitting me.)

There’s a good chance you are the only boy in America who owns a t-shirt with his Daddy’s face on it, along with his Daddy’s name in Thai underneath.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure of it, actually.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Spent the Last $7 of Your Birthday Money on the Frozen Soundtrack

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

A week ago on the 4th of July, our family started out the holiday by going to one of the few stores around that was actually open and still sells CD’s:

Walmart.

We went there to buy a birthday gift for one of your brother’s friends.

While we were there, I headed over to the CD section, as I recently got a new stereo installed in my Jeep.

While I selected the remaining Imagine Dragons albums I still didn’t own yet, you picked up a nursery rhymes CD.

It happened to cost $7, which was the remainder of your birthday gift money from April when you turned 3 years old.

As I continued to thumb through CD’s, I noticed the Frozen soundtrack was available for the same price.

Needless to say, for the past week, you have participating in a daily ritual of sitting down and carefully listening to each song.

It is beyond adorable.

Love,

Daddy