New Feature – “Ask Dad”

I’ve decided to add a new feature here at Canadian Dad. It’s a segment I like to call “Ask Dad” and is open to everyone from all walks of life.

I’ll be taking questions and then posting the best answers I can think of at some point each week. You can ask about anything you feel like, be it Serious, Ridiculous or Straight Up Insane and I will answer them to the best of my serious/humorous abilities.

Do you want to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

Interested in finding out how to be more awesome??? Ask Dad! I’ll tell you!

You can send all your questions to askdad@canadiandad.com and I’ll go through and pick out the best ones from each week.

Don’t want to email, send me a tweet with the #askdad and make sure to include my handle @canadiandadblog and I’ll grab them from there as well!

Now start asking, my mind is exploding with knowledge!!!

Cheers!!

Win 1 of 5 #RogersSmartHome Monitoring Systems – Value $1500+ (Ontario Only)

As a shift worker, it’s important to me to be able to make sure my family is safe while I’m not there. That’s why I’m so excited to be working with Rogers on their innovative new Smart Home Monitoring Systems. The comfort I get knowing my family is safe helps me rest easy while I’m at work. The Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System allows you to see who’s at your door, even when you’re not there, just by checking your smart phone or tablet*.

Staring March 1st, you can enter to WIN 1 of 5 Smart Home Monitoring Systems from Rogers. The prize is valued just over $1,500 {for Ontario residents only} and ends May 16, 2012. Enter Here Today!

You can earn Extra Ballots for this contest by sharing with your friends and family so be sure to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!

The Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System features:

    * Real time 24/7 monitoring,
    * Instant customizable alerts,
    * View and control your home remotely,
    * Ability to automate sensors, thermostat, lights and appliances,
    * Save energy and save money,
    * Much, much more.**

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When you go to the Contest Page,there are just 4 easy steps needed to enter:

Page 1: Enter the contest by providing your contact information
Page 2: Answer a “what’s important to you” question (Don’t worry, there’s only 3 boxes to click)
Page 3: Check the boxes that apply to you (4 survey questions)
Page 4: Share! Increase your chances of winning by sharing via social channels/email (there are simple share buttons for Facebook, Twitter & Email) but you can share it other places as long as you use your PURL.

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Prize valued at $1,518.83 each and includes:

* 1 Touchpad
* 3 Door/Window Sensors
* 1 Motion Detector
* 1 Key fob
* 1 Security Camera
* 1 Thermostat
* 1 Lamp Dimmer Module (including professional installation)
* Monitoring Service for one year

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For more info on how the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System works, check out this video!

*Works with any smart phone/tablet, please visit the Rogers website for more details.
**System connected by wires and via cellular.

Disclaimer: Canadian Dad or those affiliated with this blog are not responsible for any changes Rogers may make, choosing the winner or shipping this prize. I have been hired by a marketing company on behalf of Rogers Smart Home to share this contest with you.

Why Can’t I Be Spider-Man For Once?

Imagine a world where you could swing from tall building to tall building. A place where you were counted on by millions to save the day! You could have your own statue and people would chant your name in the streets as you swung on by.

That’s the world I dreamt about one day having, but those dreams have since come crashing down. You see, my young son also has aspirations of swinging from building to building as the amazing Spider-Man and that’s where my dreams end.

Have you ever tried to rationalize with a 3 year old? It goes something like this.

Me: “Hey Luke, what color is this orange?”
Luke: “Umm, Blue.”
Me: “No, it’s orange.”
Luke: “BLUE!”

And so on and so on. You can imagine the way the debate goes when he’s arguing for something he really wants. In this article’s case, it’s the chance to become Spider-Man for our daily super hero showdown.

Sure I could pick from any number of other super heroes but it’s just not the same. Here’s how I break down the other choices.

Batman is cool and all but he’s so dark that people don’t want to hang out with him or cheer his name. They’re more afraid that he could snap at any minute and go rogue on all their asses. Not to mention his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, is a complete jackass playboy millionaire. Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad…

Superman would probably be my number 3 option but that’s most likely due to the fact that the actor who played him, Christopher Reeve, has a name very similar to my own. Also, Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, is a little too weird for me. Grow some balls man and stop being such a klutz dude!

Iron Man is relatively new to the scene, Ironman seems like someone to keep an eye on for all you superhero dad’s out there. I like the cut of his jib, in and out of costume. Tony Stark seems like a cool cat, albeit a little neurotic. The only issue is that people still aren’t sure about Iron Man, so the glory part is missing. In the end, I usually pick Iron Man as my go to guy when my Spiderman dreams go south.

Cat Woman would be an excellent choice but I am missing one key element which keeps me from becoming Catwoman and I’m sure you can probably guess what it is. That’s correct, I don’t have a cat suit. Nuts.

As you can see from the above breakdown, none of these options is even close to being as cool as Spiderman. He has so much to offer and I feel like we are a lot alike.

For instance,

– Peter Parker works as a photographer for the Daily Bugle, while I sometimes add pictures to my blog.
– Spider-Man often saves the world by foiling other super villain’s plans, while at my day job, I save the world by helping to put petty criminals behind bars.
– Peter Parker is kind of nerdy but also sticks up for himself when he needs to, and I often find myself in situations where I should speak up. Plus I am also a nerd.
– Finally, Spider-Man is loved by all and has droves of fans all over the world, while that is how I am perceived by all as well. At least in my own fantasy land, called Chris-Ville (Facebook game coming to a screen near you).

I wish there was a way for me to get this across to my son. He doesn’t even know who Spider-Man is. He’s never seen the movie, tv show or comics. He only knows about Spider-Man from Halloween so I don’t see how it’s fair the he always gets to portray him.

If the world needed a real super hero to save them, would they choose a 3 year old or a slightly overweight grown man. Sure I’m a little short and I use the term “slighty” overweight loosely but c’mon man, a 3 year old?

Something has to give, but so far, my attempts to get him interested in other super heroes have fallen by the wayside. He is firm in his belief that he is in fact Spider-Man as I am forced to continue selecting second rate super heroes.

Do your kids have a favorite character they like to be? Do you know how to get my son to hate Spider-Man? Please, I’m begging you to let me know what I need to do to get this done. Let me know in the comments section.

Also, please feel free to share this post with your favorite social media outlet. I am on so many sites now, I don’t know which way is up. Pin Me I guess…..I don’t get Pinterest yet.

Cheers!

Warner Bros. – The Dark Knight Rises – Trailer

This has nothing to do with anything, except to let you in on something that I am giddy with excitement about. This movie is going to blow your mind!

Cheers!

Wisdom Imparted To Me By My 3 Year Old Son

Kids are wonderful creatures. Their imaginations put most adults to shame and their lack of knowledge makes for some interesting conversations.

For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of things that my son believes to be true and there will be no convincing him otherwise.

Without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned.

#1 – Pinocchio’s character originates from the movie Shrek and NOT from either the 1883 children’s novel or the 1940 Disney classic. End of argument!

#2 – Boys have weiners and Girls have nooners. Common knowledge I know, but he feels the need to share this tidbit every few days.

#3 – Toots are hilarious, no matter the time or place they happen. I was already aware of this one but wanted to include it for those of you who had forgotten.

#4 – I am not allowed to be Spiderman. He is always Spiderman and I have to pick from the leftover super heroes. Note: He’s never seen Spiderman other than in toy form. Also, I wish I could be Spiderman.

#5 – Sharing is optional when he has something but is mandatory when he wants something.

#6 – No matter what episode of The Backyardigans I choose to play from the PVR, it’s the wrong one. There are 32 episodes on there and only one is correct each time.

#7 – Nana brings Donuts, therefore Nana is more valuable than Mommy and Daddy.

#8 – Going to WalMart means we’re either getting McDonald’s or Toys. There are no other reasons to go to WalMart.

#9 – Hide and Seek is still fun if you hide in the same place every time. Also, if you’re not found in 3 seconds, it is acceptable to stand up and say “Here I am!”

#10 – Hockey is boring but dropping rocks in sewers is amazing!

#11 – Banana’s are gross! So are grapes, strawberries, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, blueberries and any food with colours in them.

#12 – If at first you don’t succeed, move on to something else. I’m working on this one….

#13 – Every game is called “I Win”, even if there are no winners and losers. Ex: Putting the last piece in a puzzle you do together is a win for you. I do not ever get to put the last piece in.

That’s all for now! As you can see, I’ve learned so much in my short term as a parent that it’s hard to keep track of it all.

I know there’s much more to learn from him and maybe I’ll revisit this when I have enough knowledge to share with you all.

Do your kids have any fun beliefs? Feel free to share them in the comments section and as always, don’t be afraid to share and tweet this post if you feel so inclined.

Cheers!!

Review: FunHaven in Ottawa

I took my son to this new kids place in Ottawa called FunHaven. Anyone who knows me is aware that I like going to these types of places about as much as the kids do, so my excitement level was pretty high.

Before we left the house, my son gave me some more material for my “Sh*t My Kids Say” section. Strange kid for sure, lol.

On to the show, we arrived at our destination and we were both giddy with anticipation at what lay ahead.

We got to the counter and paid for the package that included jungle gym time + the mini bowling experience. It was about $24 after taxes, which seemed reasonable, plus I didn’t have to pay to supervise my son, which is a plus for me.

I was excited to play the bumper cars but they were all broken so it was a No-Go. Disappointed to say the least.

Ah well, at least we had the mini bowling to look forward to. Or at least we thought we did.

There were 4 lanes for mini bowling, however 3 of them were broken and the line of people waiting for the single open lane was staggering. We opted for the jungle area with ball pit.

The first thing I noticed about the jungle area is that they had employees standing at the gates but they didn’t seem to be doing anything. My son and I walked right in and then right out again with no questions. I’m not really sure what their role was but I’m hoping it wasn’t to make sure kids didn’t leave unattended because they were not paying attention at all.

The Jungle/Ball Pit is neat. It has these cool cannons that fire harmless foam balls around the open area in the middle of it all. We went to try it but once again a couple of them were broken, leaving only a couple other cannons for like 40 kids. My son is only three and I’m not a parent that can approach other people’s kids to tell them to share. It just doesn’t feel right.

The other issue I had with the jungle area was that there was no one enforcing any sort of order in there. There were kids climbing up the slides and others throwing balls at kids coming down the slides (including my son). I agree that it is the parents responsibility to discipline their kids but from looking around, I could tell that most of the parent’s there had no interest in discipline and were there for the rest on the couches.

Once we left the jungle area, we decided to try out the bowling again. It looked like one of the broken lanes was fixed but upon closer inspection, it was zapping in and out of consciousness. I asked an employee about it but he just shrugged and walked away with no explanation. We threw a couple balls while it worked but my son was getting frustrated at the fact that it kept breaking dow so we moved on.

The gaming area was alright, we played some spin the wheel game and sat in the racing car game seats. My son thought he was driving the car, which was probably the highlight for me, lol. “I won, I won” he exclaimed at one point.

We got a swipe card when we got in (standard procedure at these types of places now) and when I decided it was time to go, we went to see how many points he had on it. 59 points was the total and the girl at the counter was very nice and bumped us up to 60 so my son could get what he wanted.

Overall, I was disappointed with our trip to FunHaven and thought it was going to be a lot more fun than it turned out to be. A lot of stuff was broken, Mini bowling, bumper cars, 2 cannons and a couple of the toddler games. There were some pluses such as price and prizes but it definitely wasn’t an experience to write home about.

I was also disappointed at the lack of stuff for anyone under 3-4 years old to do. They have one play structure but that’s about it. For people with young families, this is not somewhere to bring your very young kids.

I think from now on we’ll stick to Cosmic Adventures. They are a little more expensive but you get way more for your money in my opinion. I hate doing negative reviews but I can only call it the way we saw it. Too much broken equipment for such a new place.

Have you been to FunHaven? Let me know what you thought, who knows, you might even change my mind about it!

Cheers!

Sh*t My Kids Say #4 – Kids Don’t Listen

Kids are funny people. They really have no concept of right or wrong, they don’t know not to call people fat or stupid and they have no idea how hilarious their imaginary stories are to adults.

That has led me to create a section here at Canadian Dad called “Sh*t My Kids Say”. I know, I know, it’s a semi dirty word but this is my blog and I’ll swear if I want to, LOL.

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I took my son to a place called Funhaven today but before we left, I witnessed first hand just how easy it is for kids to not pay attention to anything you are saying. Here’s our conversation from earlier today.

D: “C’mon buddy, let’s get going”

L: “Where are we going Daddy?”

D: “To a new place called Funhaven!”

L: “Do they have toys?”

D: “I don’t think so”

L: “Can I play MarioKart later?”

D: “Ummm, I guess so but that has nothing to do with Funhaven”

L: “Oh okay, are we going to Daniel’s house?”

D: “Why would we go to Daniel’s house?”

L: **Blank Expression**

D: “We’re going to Funhaven, it’s like a giant indoor park”

L: “Dora? What about Boots?”

D: “Huh? I said inDOOR, not Dora!”

L: “Do they have toys? Can I bring my new coloring book?”

D: “Just get in the car!”
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I’m guessing had I continued to humour him, that this conversation could have gone on for the whole day! It’s funny because it’s not like he was watching TV or anything, he just straight up wasn’t paying attention to anything I was saying. Frustrating times for sure, LOL!

In case you’re interested, here’s my Review of our FunHaven experience from today.

Cheers!!

Dear Caillou, What’s Your Deal?

A part of the reason I was excited to learn that I was going to become a father was because I knew that I finally had a reason to watch cartoons without being ridiculed by my wife.

I liked shows like Family Guy and South Park so the transition should have been an easy one. How much different could cartoons get anyway?

I knew about Barney and The Wiggles already and was fine with them but nothing could have prepared me for the first time I watched Caillou with my son.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a rainy day and my son had woken up extra early, I’m guessing because it was Daddy’s day to get up with him. I flicked on the TV, which is auto set to go straight to the Treehouse Channel, and there he was. This funny looking 4 year old with no hair and a catchy theme song.

From the moment he opened his mouth and revealed that nasally whine, I knew him and I were going to have a compatibility issue. My son liked him though so we kept on watching.

Episode after episode, I was forced to listen to Caillou whine about everything from brushing his teeth to wanting a cookie, while his parents did nothing but provide half-assed attempts to get him to learn his manners.

I don’t completely blame the parents though. I mean, my kid is almost 4 and he understands why he can’t have a cookie right before dinner. If he were to throw a fit about it, he would get a timeout and an explanation afterwards.

Caillou’s biggest issue seems to be a lack of discipline but that’s expected when you are being raised by parents who seem to be stuck in the 60’s. Think about it, they are clearly high a majority of the time. They never get frustrated, never fight, never raise their voices even. Caillou is living the dream in that household.

Around the time I found myself starting to yell at the parents to do something, anything to shut him up, I realized that my kid was picking up this behaviour and adapting it as his own. The last time any of us watched Caillou, was the day my son came into the kitchen and said to my wife, “Give me a cookie!!”, which was a particularly disturbing scene where the Mom inevitably gives in and pays up.

Caillou, you’re on the banned show list, along with Teletubbies and that one where Ernie & Bert fly around in the magic bed??? Seriously, what is that show? I’m pretty sure in the theme song, Bert says “This is kind of kinky”?!

Back on topic. Dear Caillou, until you can get through two consecutive episodes without have a giant whining temper tantrum, my family will be boycotting your show.

Dear Caillou’s parents, grow some balls and punish the kid. He’s running all over you and you just stand there like imbeciles. You’re a cartoon, you can do whatever you want. Please, I’m begging you to do something. I don’t spank my kids but there’s always exceptions to the rule and cartoons seem to be a pretty good exception. Get Er Dun!

What show’s are on your banned list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

Cheers!

Can My Child’s Artwork Get Me Arrested?

For the most part, my goal with this blog is to write about the things that amuse me about fatherhood. That doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t get the urge to write about other things that catch me offguard.

That urge struck me yesterday when reading this article in the online news version of The Record.

The story is about a father (Jessie Sansone) who was arrested while picking up his 4 year old daughter from school because she drew a picture of a man holding a gun. When asked about the photo, the girl replied “That’s my daddy’s. He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters.”

Sansone was strip searched at the police station and three of his children were taken to Family and Children’s Services to be interviewed.

Several hours after being humiliated in front of the entire school, a detective apologized and said Sansone was being released with no charges. Sansone was also asked to sign a paper authorizing a search of his home, where police found no real guns but did find this plastic gun.

I understand the school’s need to deal with this information in a very serious manner. With all of the craziness going on in schools today, I would be outraged if something like this went without being brought up. My problem is with the way the situation was handled.

Sansone recounts that he was not even warned at the school, he simply showed up to get his daughter and they cuffed him, strip searched him and embarassed him in front of his whole community. “My family has been tarnished. My name has been tarnished,” Sansone said.

I can only picture this happening to me and it makes me wonder why they didn’t just call the police and set up a meeting with Sansone to discuss it privately and then decide if action was required?

Imagine going to pick up your 4 year old kid from kindergarten and getting ambushed out of nowhere and rushed into a police car in handcuffs. How would that make you feel? How would it look to all the other parents, kids and community members who witnessed it? How would you ever fix your reputation at that point?

You know how it goes, once your accused of something, you’ll always be the guy that was involved in that scandal, regardless of the outcome. It’s unfortunate but true.

Really, what this story did, is make me rethink my whole parenting philosophy. We play with super soakers in the summertime and the whole neighbourhood joins in. We’ve had some really fun house to house battles but is it really worth it? Does this same fate await me or one of my neighbours? What other things do I do as a parent without realizing the consequences? It’s a scary thought.

What are your thoughts about the way this went down? Do you think the school and police were right in the way they handled the situation or do you think there may have been a more discreet way to deal with it? Let me know in the comments section and thanks for reading!
Cheers!

If You Don’t Know Who The Grumpy Neighbour Is…

I like to think that I have pretty good self-awareness. That’s why it only took a millisecond to realize it.

My kids were out front playing and a car came screaming around the corner at a speed I felt was unacceptable. “Slow Down!!” I yelled. As the final syllable came out of my mouth, I immediately realized what was happening.

I was slowly turning into the grumpy guy on the street.

There were indications that I had previously missed, although I’m pretty sure I knew what was going on and was just afraid to admit it. Kind of like the feeling when you get those first gray hair’s or when you can’t explain why you’re always in some form of pain.

The first sign should have been when we got the plastic yellow guy to put at the end of the driveway, just enough into the road to make driver’s think they about to hit a kid. You know the one.

Perhaps I should have taken a step back on the day when the garbage truck left a trail of trash all down our entire street. Instead I decided to call the city to complain about it. Not like me at all.

More recently, I have escalated my grumpy efforts. The other day, we had guys from an energy company that will remain nameless, Summitt Energy, come to the door and try to trick me into letting them in to “check to see if I had the appropriate stickers” on my hot water tank. They even went so far as to pretend they were sent by my energy company.

That was the last straw for me. Not only did I not let them in but I sent messages to my neighbours to warn them not to let them in and even went ahead and followed them down the street to make sure they didn’t con any of my other friends on the street. They didn’t like that.

Upon further inspection of this company’s practices, I noticed on the BBB website that they’ve received a number of hefty fines already for these types of practices.

Nobody messes with my family or the families of my friends and gets away with it, LOL. I couldn’t help but wonder if Bruce Wayne would have been proud of my efforts in this case but I think he would have.

You should note that I have never been good at confrontational situations. In fact, it was to a point where I would turn off a TV show if I knew there was going to be an uncomfortable situation.

You couldn’t even count the number of times when I let places get away with terrible service or restaurants messing up orders. You name it, I’ve backed down from it.

Nowadays, if I don’t like the performance of my new car, I write a letter to the owner of the dealership. Unhappy with my banking or cable or mobile service?? An email or phone call is surely going to follow. In this new social media age, companies are being very careful about negative feedback. A Twitter rampage could be very damaging for a smaller business.

I guess when I really think about it, maybe I’m not becoming a grump after all. Maybe having kids and responsibilities is just turning me into more of a man.

Nah! I’m just getting grumpier, hahaha!!!

Has this type of change happened to you? Hit the comments section and let me know some grumpy things you’ve done since having kids. It can only be me right???

Also, if you feel so inclined, you can hit the share or tweet buttons at the top and help get the word out there.

Cheers!!