The Yin & Yang of Being Beaten by Your Kid

I have three claims-to-fame in my 39 years on this lovely planet.

  1. I once placed 2nd in a BMX bike race. Seven years old. My first BMX bike. A brand new birthday helmet. A big dirt track with hills and jumps. Early 80’s when BMX was super cool. And I came in 2nd…in my very first race! There were only two riders. It was also my last BMX race. But I did hang my red 2nd place ribbon on my wall.
  2. In the 8th-grade yearbook, I was selected as “Best Dressed.” The climax of my life – and the height of my style – was only a short 25 years ago. Not too shabby.
  3. At six, I was the youngest green belt my YMCA Karate instructor had ever encountered. I stopped shortly thereafter. A local YMCA record seemed sufficient.

There are no BMX tracks near us.

8th grade is still a long way off.


On Saturday, Little Dude captured his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do. He’s only five.

My meaningless YMCA record has been crushed. By my prodigy.

Sort of.

There’s a bit of a technicality.

As “they” say, every great teacher wants their student to be better than them.

I love seeing Little Dude kicking ass and taking names. It literally warms my heart – yes, literally, as in my heart is physically warmer watching the awesomeness of my offspring.


Dad’s don’t like to be beaten. Especially by their kids. At anything.

The technicality…

In the generic YMCA karate of my youth, the green belt followed the white belt. In Little Dude’s TKD class, green follows yellow.

In Little Dude’s mind, Dad is still in the lead. And I’m keeping it that way.

I have the green belt (thanks Mom), and I’ll pass it down when the time is right – IE when Little Dude is 7.

Long live the Dad champ!

Congrats Little Dude…

And for contrast…

Proud Dad Moment: Spontaneous Beastie Boys

The teacher’s mouth was moving. I assume words were spoken.

All I heard was the sound of the adults in Charlie Brown…wont, wont…wont,wont, wont…wont wont.

Like Neal Armstrong driving the American flag into the surface of the moon (did he do that?), the rap culture was hoisting it’s flag triumphantly in the back of a 4th grade classroom in the (distant) suburbs of Boston, MA.


The Beastie Boys had (crash) landed.

My friends and I passed the Licensed to Ill cassette tape (!!!) around like it was contraband…Because it was!

Like a scene from an 80’s version of Wonder Years.


The Beasties are forever misunderstood, but the musical legacy is undeniable.

Changed the face of rap with timeless flow, sick mixes, and a continuously evolving style.

Yesterday, in a proud dad moment, I heard Little Dude (4) spontaneously bust out “You gotta fight for your right to paaaarty!”

Awesome. And to celebrate, the Muppets killing it on So What’cha Want

PS – Want more Beastie info? Check out this awesome Rick Rubin interview. Beasties and so much more.

PPS – Related Beastie Boys Posts:

  1. Sabotage for the Kids – RIP MCA
  2. Beasties + Sesame Street = Awesome
  3. She’s Crafty

12 Tips for Fatherhood Awesomeness

Little Dude - Before THE Haircut

Little Dude – Before THE Haircut

Short, but sweet.

I’d like to think I have a firm grasp on the majority of these tips, but some great reminders never hurt.

12 Tips for being a radical dad [from LifeHack]…

  1. Give ’em some love.
  2. Spend time with the rug rats.
  3. Show up at the big game/recital.
  4. Show the kids things you dig.
  5. Talk to them.
  6. Reading is always cool.
  7. Be grateful. And show it.
  8. Play.
  9. Treat everyone with respect and kindness.
  10. Smile.
  11. Pursue your bliss.
  12. Never too many “I love you’s”

The Most Important Journey: Dude to Dad

Little Dude - Before THE Haircut

Little Dude – Before THE Haircut

Seriously? Almost a month without a post. Geesh. Get with it, Dude!

All I can say is: 3 kids. Enough.

So, I missed a Father’s Day post. That’s a home run post for the Dude!

Dang kids! (shaking my fist like an ole’ timer!)

But the good news I’ve stockpiled a few thoughts, links, etc.

A bit belated, but happy Dad’s Day dudes. Now, consider how important you are. For real.

I mentioned this super rad Dude’s online magazine, Bearings,  in my New Year’s post. If you haven’t subscribed, chop, chop. Hop to it. It won’t disappoint…”A Southern Lifestyle Guide for Men,” enough said.

The brilliance that is Bearings shared some nice Papa’s Day thoughts, and here’s a few of my favs…

  • Dads teach us lessons about fatherhood through their successes and their failures.
    • They teach us to show up when it’s easier to run. 
    • They teach us to persevere when it’s easier to quit. 
    • They teach us to get back up when we fall down. 
    • They teach us to spend time with those who matter most, because life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. 
    • Most of all, they teach us that legends aren’t always made in the public eye – they are made in the eyes of sons whose eyes are on their fathers. 

In addition to those awesome words of wisdom, the Bearings dudes also shared a sweet documentary that I was unaware of – The Other F Word. Punk rocker dudes that are now dads! Sweetness.

I feel like I grew up with these dudes, and to see them fumble through fatherhood is awesome. A whole new respect.


I also hung on to a post from Zen Habits that boils that whole Dad thing down to one simple lesson…

Appreciate your child’s love for you.

Whoa. That stops you for a minute. So easy. So profound. But so hard.

Do we even realize how much those little people love us? How much they watch our every move? Listen to our every word…even when they back-talk and seem to be ignoring?

Our kids are learning from us every second of every day. We may not realize it. They may not realize it. But those little sponges are sucking up each and every action we take…good and bad.

Understand how much you’re loved. And love them back. It’s that simple.

How about some stats to back up the importance of us dudes? Right on.

Click through for a variety of dad stats, but here’s one that sums it up well…

Children whose fathers are highly involved with them in a positive way do better in school, demonstrate better psychological well-being and lower levels of delinquency, and ultimately attain higher levels of education and economic self-sufficiency. One of the most important factors in girls’ academic achievement is their father’s belief in them.

Sorry it’s a bit late, but I hope it’s as clear to you as it is to me that the most important – and rewarding – journey we’ll take is from Dude to Dad.

The best part is, we’re Dads; the expectations are already set low. If we remember to shower and a put on a shirt without stains, we’re already ahead of the game.

All we need to do is show up and have a good time. Smile. Laugh. Have fun. And love those kids. It’s as simple as that. 

PS – Just to keep it real, dads you’re market value is $23, 344. While moms are worth $59,862. Dang!

When Life Attacks You With Birds


When birds attack - mocking bird umbrella

When birds attack – mocking bird umbrella

For as long as I can recall, my father has had one predominant fear…

  1. Birds – Seriously, birds. He doesn’t trust them. Their fast and unpredictable. Shifty little characters. Doesn’t want to be around them. Doesn’t want to talk to them. Definitely not as a pet. And most certainly no birds swooping in an attack like manner in his general vicinity.

We’ve let him know how crazy this fear is…on countless occasions. An ongoing family joke…the crazy old man that fears birds.

Come on, how often do birds attack?

I’d say the warm glass of life is half full most of the time. Not many bird attacks. Lots of radness.

Except when it’s not.

Life is fast and unpredictable…like those damn birds. 

I believe the good far outweighs the bad, but sometimes birds DO attack.

It turns out the Dude’s Padre is in the process of losing at least a portion of his eye sight. He’s 65’ish, so I guess he’s had a good run with seeing and all, but it’s never cool to lose the ability to see low flying objects…like birds.

The Old Man has AAION, which basically means he had a little stroke in his eye, and the result is lost vision. No treatment. Just the lose of vision to some degree in the effected eye.

Right now that’s about 25% of the left eye. No telling how much he’ll lose just yet, but it is slightly better than the more progressive form that can take 100% of sight and require years of steroid treatment.

Crazy old man stuff.

Getting old is hard. It’s difficult when systems malfunction.

However, as hard as life can be, as hard as aging can be, I suspect there’s an art to it. And I suspect that much of the art of living/aging has to do with our ability to laugh. Laugh at ourselves, laugh at the world around us, and laugh at the downright absurdity of life.

Losing vision is not cool. But finding a reason to laugh definitely is.

In addition to being crazy, life is also pretty comical.

The Old Man has to figure out how to deal with the stress of vision lose, and the effects this will have on his life. The figurative birds of life are on the attack.

But to lighten the mood, life has also sent actual live birds to attack as well. 


A pair of mocking birds is holding my parents hostage in their own house. It’s a war zone.

I got the full report over the phone last night. I called to get an eye update, and after some somber discussion, the hilarity ensued.

Two mocking birds have a nest with babies in their yard. The “attacks” have progressed from near the nest to throughout the entire yard. They can’t leave the house without the birds swooping in.

My Dad has been running to and from the house with a tennis racket! It has now progressed to an umbrella.

He has done his research, and once the eggs arrive, it is a punishable offensive to get rid of the birds/nest. The nest is there to stay until the babies leave.

He’s also learned that mocking birds claw larger birds with their talons while also defecating and vomiting on them. Awesome! The bird fear has expanded in grossness.

As I was on the phone, my Mom arrived home, and I was able to listen as my Dad yelled out directions from the upstairs window…

  • You’re good. I see them both in the nest.
  • Uh oh, they see you.
  • They’re on the move.
  • Get going! They’re coming for you!

Battle orders. Fantastic.

Never easy to see the comedy of life as you experience it, but the Old Man with eye sight dwindling and bird fears growing, was able to brush aside the stress and cackle with his son about the absolute absurdity of life.

The first time he laughed in over a week. And I’m glad I got to share it.

So what’s the moral of the story?

  • Irrational fears aren’t always irrational?
  • Worry about something for long enough and it will happen?
  • We’re all under attack by a new race of super birds?

I’d say the lesson here is that life is unpredictable. Things will change, the road will get bumpy…birds will attack, but we need to find a reason to laugh. 

Life is short. Enjoy what you have…while you have it.

Awesome Update:

Got this text from front line this morning…

The birds won’t attack if you look at them, so there are eyes to download. Our tactics are working.

Classic Dad Moment

Life is full of classic dad moments. And luckily, we have YouTube to share them with the world.

Reality is so much better than any script. You couldn’t write/act this as well as it plays out. Pure genius.

  • Cruising in the car, the kids beg dad for a song that I’m guessing he’s had enough of.
  • Dad gives in, and the kids rejoice.
  • This little dude starts to get down with his sisters, and dad innocently reminds him that he is not a single lady. Seems like a good life lesson.
  • Unfortunately, the little guy just wants to dance and doesn’t care to hear dad’s life lessons. Enter the explosion of disappointment.
  • The death stare from big sister in the middle is classic! “Way to go dad!”
  • In an effort to reverse course and save the day, dad ends up telling his son he is a single lady and singing Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies.” Real life caught on tape…and luckily he shared it with the world for all of our enjoyment.

Ah, reality and YouTube…the perfect combination.

Dad’s Are Cool!

Is this a new trend?  Are Dad’s cool right now?

I was sent the below videos today by separate, unrelated sources.  Both are great parodies of a Dad’s life, and judging by the number of views they’ve had on YouTube, they seem pretty popular…even Toyota has jumped on the Dad bandwagon.

Dad’s are funny creatures.  It’s a big shift from single dude to dad, but great dad’s are successfully making the transition every day, and it’s pretty funny to watch…and experience.

Seems the Dude is in the right profession.  I suspect the high dollar sponsorships will follow soon.

The Dishes are Done, Man!

The Dishes are Done!

The Dishes are Done!

In week four’s “Lessons,” I mentioned there should be a Dad Olympics to showcase the extreme rigors of diaper changing.  I’d like to add event number two; dishwasher loading.

The Dude is a dishwasher loading wizard.  It’s a long family tradition handed down from my mother’s side.  My grandfather, mother, and sister are all at the top of their dishwasher loading game, but the Dude is pretty confident in his gold medal status

My Grandfather is 93, even if he can out-pack me, I can beat him on speed, and this is the Dad Olympics, so adios Madre and Sis.

I’m going to start making space in the trophy case.

When you see this on ESPN, you’ll know you heard it here first…Rock, paper, scissors is on ESPN, why not Dad Olympics?

Little Dude’s Dad

I was talking with my parents last night, because the Dude is a fantastic son like that (Little Dude, take notes.), and my Mother is now referring to me as Little Dude’s Dad…and going overboard like only a Mother can do in an endearing way.  “Hi Little Dude’s Dad.  I’m talking to Little Dude’s Dad.  How’s Little Dude’s Dad?”

It caught me off guard a bit, and I mentioned that I hadn’t really thought of it that way.  Yeah, I’m a Dad, and I’m Little Dude’s Dad, but I haven’t had anyone call me Little Dude’s Dad.  It has a good ring to it.

Dude’s Madre responds by saying “You’re now going to be called Little Dude’s Dad more than Dude.”

Somehow this simple perspective had eluded me up to this point.

A loss of identity, or an extension of identity?

Definitely an extension.  A little me…only better because he’s a little Mrs. Dude too.

Lessons From the Front Lines – Week One

PeaceAfter a day and a half at the hospital (one overnight), the Dude, the Mrs., and Little Dude joined the Princess back at Casa de Dude, and we’ve all fumbled our way triumphantly through the Little Dude’s first week on Earth.  Happy one week b-day Little Dude.

Looking back on the blur of the first seven days, some lessons are evident.

1. Mom’s are tough as nails…except when they cry…then they need lots of hugs.  Birth is a doozey, and that’s just the beginning.  At one point the Mrs. compared the early pains of breastfeeding to “monkey’s beating on my chest”…not sure if she’s actually had this experience, but point is well taken…mommying is painful.  Added to the physical pain are sleepless nights, complete loss of personal space, and mental somersaults that accompany a constant pull in every direction at once.

2.  Dads aren’t too shabby either.  True, Dads don’t endure the physical pain, but the mental somersaults are just as much a part of their life trying to balance the increasing priorities within a decreasing scope of time.  Sleepless nights are sleepless nights to Mommies and Daddies; someone needs to burp and change the boy after Mom feeds him, and the Princess and pooches still need breakfast come morning.  I have no idea how a single parent functions.

3.  The rest of the tribe is almost as important as Mom and Dad.  As the saying goes, “It takes a village…”  Babies change everything in an instant, and other members of the “parent club” recognize the magnitude of this transition and actively offer support without a request.  It seems like it’s just understood that it’s needed.  No one has offered to setup a trust fund for him yet, but gestures as simple as dropping off dinner help a day flow smoothly.

This voluntary assistance also extends to the Princess who has happily taken on the role of big sister without a fuss.

4.  Nature is amazing!  This boy is incredible, growing and changing on a daily basis, and to think a short seven days ago he was housed inside of another human being.  Millions of minute interactions occurring at precise moments to bring the tiny lad into our lives.  Thanks Mama Nature.

5.  The Moby rocks.  It allows you to wrap the baby around you using a simple cloth as I imagine our ancestors have done for quite a while.  Allowing for hands-free mobility, and letting the Dude and Little Dude cruise around the yard watering the gardens and taking in the scenery.

6.  A battery operated swing and bouncy chair come in very handy.  I’m not sure I would say a must, but pretty darn close to a must.

7.  All hail the swaddle!  I’ll spare you the detailed descriptions of this relatively boring topic, but if you know anyone with an infant, or expecting, I highly recommend “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Karp.  Here’s a video that shows some of the techniques in action.