Dear Holly: Sneaking Chocolate Candy Behind Empty Christmas Toy Boxes

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week during our Christmas vacation at Nonna and Papa’s, Mommy and I went out for a few hours to get coffee. While we were out, Nonna caught on to a sneaky little trick that your brother set up for the two of you.

He took two empty boxes from Christmas gifts, Scented SlimyGloop and Play-Doh poop, and placed them upright on the kitchen table.

Then he placed the jar of mint chocolate M&Ms behind them and slowly began dispersing them, one at a time, to both of you.

The exact number of M&Ms obtained during this mission remain unknown.

But even though it wasn’t your idea, the look on your face in this picture makes it very clear you were quite the accomplice.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: The Art of “Finding an Activity”, to Properly Focus Your Restless Energy

6 years.

Dear Jack: The Art of “Finding an Activity”, to Properly Focus Your Restless Energy

Dear Jack,

A fairly recent rule I have created for you in our house is this:

“If you can’t figure out what to do, then you’re going upstairs for a nap until you fall asleep.”

You’re a boy. That means you’re full of energy that needs to be directed with a purpose. If not, it becomes restless energy. And I don’t allow restless energy in our house. Because restless energy is not Feng Shui.

I don’t believe in spanking you as a form of punishment. I believe that your “misbehavior” has everything to do with me properly attending to your needs, based on you being either hungry, tired, bored, lonely, or sick.

So I know that if you’re acting a little crazy, yet you’ve recently eaten, and aren’t due for a nap, you likely are bored. You need me to remind you that you are responsible for entertaining yourself.

Dear Jack: The Art of “Finding an Activity”, to Properly Focus Your Restless Energy

We have a house full of toys and games and crafts. Plus, if the weather allows, and I’m not in the middle of taking care of your sister, I’m always eager to take you outside and burn some curious energy with you.

As for this past weekend, I was quite proud of you for how you figured out what to do, in the midst of nasty weather outside.

Saturday morning, as a family, we ventured to Target and bought a new Hoover vacuum cleaner. After you helped me unbox it back at the house, you were quick to take the box and turn it into a spaceship of sorts.

Then you spent most of the rest of the evening using the Styrofoam from the packaging; using it to make scientific experiments in; using water, leftover Halloween candy, and Christmas stamps.

Dear Jack: The Art of “Finding an Activity”, to Properly Focus Your Restless Energy

And on Sunday, after you and Mommy decorated the Christmas tree while I cleaned the bathrooms, you decided to use some of the extra lights to illuminate your bedroom.

You really are a creative kid. You just need me sometimes me to remind you that with your talent comes a built-in responsibility to actually do something with that talent.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: The Art of “Finding an Activity”, to Properly Focus Your Restless Energy

Dear Jack: Our “Practice Halloween” Night as a Family/We Watched Gremlins

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: Our "Practice Halloween" Night as a Family

Dear Jack,

Tonight we were able to “practice Halloween” at your preschool with all your friends. You got to be the coolest person possible: Captain America.

It was funny because all your friends who were boys were also dressed up as super heroes; but there were conveniently no duplicates: Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman…

As for Mommy and me, we took a more minimalist approach:

Mommy wore a zebra mask and I wore my cave man hat which I’ve owned for years.

(At Target, your costume only cost us $10 and Mommy’s mask was only $3.)

I like the fact you wanted to make sure your stuffed animal, Kitty, was dressed in costume too; as a baby in a onesie.

And by the way, you got a whole lot of candy! The proportion of candy-to-kids was definitely in your favor.

However, there’s a decent chance it’s going to rain on Saturday, which is Halloween.

So even though we are finally moved in to a nice suburban neighborhood where we can truly just walk door to door, instead of driving to a decent place, we may get rained out! Therefore, tonight served as our back-up plan to that happening to us.

And to set the mood for Halloween, I let you watch the 1984 Steven Spielberg movie, Gremlins; which is currently free on Amazon Prime right now.

gremlins_gizmo Dear Jack: Our "Practice Halloween" Night as a Family/We Watched Gremlins

I admit to having a few reservations in that it, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Jones, were the very first movies to be released under the PG-13 rating; as opposed to PG.

Granted, you watched Ant-Man and it was no issue for you.

I don’t regret my decision. You didn’t recognize the bad words, since to you, “stupid” is the one that concerns you the most right now.

And though parts of it are obviously creepy and violent, it was nothing you hadn’t seen on Goosebumps. I’m not saying I recommend showing Gremlins to all 5 year-olds, but I feel confident in us being able to enjoy it together.

You were on the edge on your seat the whole time, and you loved Gizmo. Not to mention, you’ve already proclaimed that when we go to Nonna and Papa’s house next time, you’ll be bringing home my old Gizmo doll.

Love,

Daddy

Sour Brown Is The New Peanut Butter

March 13, 2014 at 8:27 pm , by 

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

I’ve always had this idea for a Saturday Night Live skit, in which a group of adults speak dialogue based on the previously recorded conversations of young children.

It could potentially be hilarious, as 3 year-old such as yourself come up with some off-the-wall stuff without even trying.

Yesterday when I picked you up from school, you informed me that before we left, you needed to pick out a prize from the treasure box, since your daily report indicated you were well-behaved and took your nap.

As we looked inside the treasure box, there were stickers, actions figures based on the KinderCare mascot, and Dum Dum lollipops.

While I’ve established myself as the most hard-core dad in a 50 mile radius when it comes to preaching the evils of kids eating petroleum-based food dyes, I give you some grace when it comes to special treats you get at school; especially when it’s a very small amount, and based on good behavior.

Last week you got to try your first Dum Dum, which was sour apple flavored: You called it “sour green.”

Yesterday you chose a brown Dum Dum. With joy, as I was carrying you out the door as we left, you proclaimed: “Daddy, maybe it’s a sour brown one!”

I couldn’t stop laughing. You didn’t know what I thought was so funny, but you joined in the laughter.

The concept of “sour brown” is… Willy Wonka-ish.

“Sour” and “brown” are such an odd match.

Seeing that you had such an open mind on the subject, I didn’t tell you which flavor the brown Dum Dum actually was; I wanted to get your natural take on it.

“Daddy, this sour brown one is peanut butter… Daddy, it doesn’t sound good. I don’t like it.”

Interesting. I could see how peanut butter could taste like root beer, to a 3 year-old.

However, you weren’t completely convinced that the brown Dum Dum was actually sour brown or peanut butter, so you asked me to be sure.

I figured that trying to explain to you what root beer was would be too confusing, so I just told you it was soda flavored. Your response:

“Daddy, soda isn’t healthy. I don’t like the way it sounds.”

I now realize you haven’t learned the word “tastes” yet; you use “sounds” instead.

So basically, when it’s all said and done, sour brown is the new peanut butter, and you don’t like the way that sounds.

 

Love,

Daddy

healthnutshell: Ketchup Vs. Mustard

What’s so fancy about ketchup, anyway?  I have faith in mustard seeds.

My dad always said, “You are who your friends are or you soon will be.”  That is indeed the case with both ketchup and mustard.  Though they are as much as a pair as salt and pepper, they tend to attract different “friends”.  Bottom line: Ketchup is a bad influence, but mustard is a role model.

On occasion, I have no problem enjoying some good fries that I know actually came from whole potatoes from a reputable restaurant (meaning they don’t have a drive-thru there).  Same thing with a good juicy burger that is hand-pattied.  And when that happens, that means ketchup is involved.  Other than that, I don’t eat ketchup.

Because ketchup, in most cases, is paired with unhealthy foods that are either processed or fried.  For me, it’s sort of disgusting to think about what ketchup really is: tomato concentrate, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, “spice”, and onion powder.

Tomato concentrate is processed tomatoes.  Vinegar is okay.  High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup are both forms of processed sugar.  The rest of the ingredients are fine.

Ketchup is candy.  For a serving the size of one tablespoon, there are four grams of sugar.  But honestly, when I eat ketchup, I typically have a bit more than that.  For a typical serving of fries at a decent restaurant, it’s pretty easy to consume four tablespoons of ketchup with the fries alone.  That’s 12 grams of sugar, (one tablespoon of sugar) the equivalent to smoking one cigarette.

So my general rule of thumb is, I stay away from foods that are enhanced by ketchup.  Not only is ketchup really just candy sauce, but it attracts the wrong kinds of friends.  I don’t even keep ketchup in my fridge.

Mustard on the other hand is much more legit: Vinegar, water, mustard seeds, salt, turmeric, and paprika. None of those ingredients are processed.  In fact, there are actually health benefits of turmeric and paprika.

Tumeric– linked to possible benefits in arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, aids in digestion, is an anti-flammatory agent as well as an antibacterial agent

Paprika– rich in vitamin C (more than lemon juice) and high in antioxidants

Of course that doesn’t mean that I recommend eating a bottle of mustard a day in order to prevent diseases.  But compared side by side to ketchup, it’s pretty obvious that mustard is actually healthy to eat, whereas I can’t truly consider ketchup to be nutritious.

Mustard easily goes well with healthy foods.  People don’t put ketchup on a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.  That would be gross.  But mustard would be great.

Foods that go well with mustard- good.

Foods that go well with ketchup (or both ketchup and mustard)- watch out.

Choose this day whom you will follow, ketchup or mustard.

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on ketchup, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:

dad from day one