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!!

Sh*t My Kids Say #3 – Wieners

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 the decision to create a new 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.

*************************************************************************************

This was a conversation I overheard between my wife and son.

L: “Mommy, does Julia have a wiener?”

M: “No, she has a nooner.”

L: “You have a nooner, you have a nooner!!”

Yep, that’s my boy!

My Disney On Ice Experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From my childhood, I seem to remember Disney On Ice as being Mickey and his crew skating around for half an hour, with no clear objective and random Disney tunes playing in the background. How times have changed. Then again, I sometimes also forget what I had for lunch the previous day and I lose my car keys at least twice a week so my childhood memory could be skewed.

Of course, I have no concept of dollar value from 25 years ago, so whether it was worth my parents hard earned money or not, I have no idea. What I do understand is today’s dollar value and I’m here to break down what I saw last night.

Let’s start from the top. There were 4 of us going to the show with children under 2 being free. That’s great until you realize that it means no 4th seat for coats/bags/etc. Don’t under estimate the importance of the extra seat. We didn’t pay for the extra seat and here’s the breakdown on why.

– 3 Tickets @ $15 each, we got them through one of those Groupon type sites so it wasn’t a bad deal until you get hit with the fees associated to the tickets. What should have been $45 quickly turned into $70. FAIL.

– Parking for packed hockey games is $12, Parking for 1/4 Disney on Ice event is $12, FAIL.

– 1 Tinkerbell doll – $24; 1 set of Incredibles’ figurines – $30 ( The figurine set was actually reasonably priced so props to that). The doll is a FAIL though, lol.

– 2 Hot Dogs, 1 Poutine, 1 Pizza Slice, Small Drink – $26. Parent FAIL for giving the kids Hot Dogs I guess.

That was it for the spending, the entire evening came out to about $165 for the 4 of us, which I guess isn’t the worst. Plus we could have had dinner at home before hand but I worked until about 10 minutes before we had to leave. Plus, the toys were technically the kids Valentine’s Day presents, as were the tickets I guess, spoiled much?

On to the show! We had some great seats, thanks to my beautiful wife. We were about 5 rows up from the ice, right in the center and on the aisle, which I find to be a huge deal with little kids. The show started at 7pm, so I expected to be driving home by about 8:15pm…wrong!

I’m not going to breakdown the whole show, just the highlights as I noticed them. For the most part, men are less interested in things like figure skating and Disney princesses than they are with hockey and heist movies (my favorite). This event was no exception for me.

For me, events like this provide me with two joys. The first is watching the excitement on my own kids faces when they get to see all their favorite characters up close. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing my kids happy and Disney On Ice does the job well.

The second thing I get to do during these outings is people watch. Don’t pretend you don’t do it, we all do it to varying degrees. My degree happens to be a high one as this is one of my favorite pastimes and Disney On Ice does not disappoint!

Within seconds of sitting down, an older usher asks my wife this question about my daughter, “She’s cute, are you still nursing her?”, WHAT?! He then went on to explain that they had a specific section set aside for nursing mothers. My wife politely declined and he went on his way. Here’s some thoughts on this interaction.

First, I actually thought he meant that they had a day care on site to watch young kids during the show, this is because I am a man and couldn’t imagine ever asking a woman if she was still breastfeeding and honestly, I couldn’t care less if she was. My second reaction was, did his employer put him up to asking every mother with a younger looking child if they are still breastfeeding so they could use the magical Disney Breastfeeding Center in section 203? If so, I now feel for the usher because that’s way worse than your wife asking you to buy her feminine products.

We were lucky enough to have a couple Disney characters sitting right in our row too, which was nice. Remember Skippy from Family Ties? He was sitting right next to me and was more into the show than any kid I saw the whole time we were there. The downside to this fellow is that he was 9 feet tall and was seriously encroaching onto my side of the seating plan. I let it go for the sake of my children but I could have taken him if I wanted to, lol.

We also had this woman in our row. I`m not really sure if she was with anyone but she had the huge fur coat and was really into staring at random people for no good reason. I gave her a pass when I realized that I was doing the exact same thing, minus the fur coat and with a little more tact. I kept waiting for Dalmatians to come running from under her seat but it never happened. I guess Cruella De Vil wasn’t a part of the show.

As for the actual show, not much to report. My son has the same face at every single event we’ve ever gone to. It’s a face that has me constantly him if he is enjoying himself because it’s impossible to read. Need some examples? Here’s some live action shots from The Wiggles, Backyardigans and Disney on Ice from last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep, that’s my boy!

As for Julia, she couldn’t have been created any more opposite from her brother. I honestly thought we were going to have to take her to CHEO when Minnie Mouse (her favorite) finally came out. She started shaking uncontrollably and pointing to the ice yelling “Mouse, mouse, mouse!!!!!”, to the point where she started crying and scaring her parents. Here’s what her Disney experience looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

My Mom used to tell me that I would do they shaking/crying thing when Ernie and Bert would come on TV and I always called her a liar and said I would never do that. I guess I owe an apology now because I have passed this trait on to my daughter…

The rest of the night went about according to plan, except for the length of the show. Every time I thought it was ending, a new princess would come flying out, ruining my aspirations for a good night’s sleep.

At the very end, all the characters came out for one final number. The only problem I had with this is that we had bought my son a set of Incredibles figures to remember the trip (read:keep him happy) and while the Incredibles had opened the show, they didn’t come out at the end?! Here he was holding up his guys for all to see but his heroes were a no show. Instead, we got to see characters that weren’t in the show in the first place – Yeah, I’m talking to you Mulan!

Overall, expensive but great family night out and we even got a treat on the way home as my son and I had this memorable conversation.

Did you take your kids to Disney On Ice? Let me know in the comments section how you enjoyed your experience?

Cheers!!

 

Sh*t My Kids Say #2 – Disney On Ice

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 the decision to create a new 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.

*************************************************************************************

We had a great time at Disney On Ice last night, other than the length of time it spanned. I mean seriously, 2 hours and a bit of dancing princesses? I’m as excited about Disney as anyone but after a while they all start to look the same.
On the drive home, we asked my son what he thought of the show.

D: “Hey buddy, what was your favorite part of the show?”

L: “Ummmm, the part where I got my toy”

D: “Really? The part before we even sat down at our seats, when we bought you the Incredibles figurines?”

L: “Yeah, I really, really love them”

D: “What about the show? Anything from the actual show that you liked?”

L: “Donald Duck”

D: “Donald Duck was in the 2 hour show for 3 minutes and said no words, that’s all you liked?”

L: “I liked….(clearly humouring me at this point) the claw”

D: “What claw???”

L: “The claw from Peter Pan”

D: “?????” “You mean Captain Hook?”

L: “No Daddy, the claw. And when the crocodile ate the guy”

D: :Well, I’m glad you liked it???”

L: “But I really, really love my Incredible guys”

D: “Excellent!”

The main thing I learned from this conversation is that my son could care less about what happened that night because he lost interest upon receiving his late Valentine’s Day gift of Incredibles figurines.
I know he had fun because I was watching him throughout the show, I think he just hasn’t figured out the “favorite part” thing yet. Maybe he just enjoyed it so much that everything was his favorite part? Either way, the toys ruled the day and I’m happy to report that as of 12 hours later, he still really, really loves them, haha.

Cheers!

Valentine’s Day Roundup – I Think I Lost Again…

It’s no secret that there is a silent competition going on between parents on Valentine’s Day, to see who can come up with the best gift for the other parent. Honestly, I’ve never really been good at it, but lately I’ve been finding a bit of creativity that I never had before.

I think my creative bone kicked in shortly after a last minute trip to the Shoppers Drug Mart one fine Valentine’s Day, where I proudly picked out a lovely card from me and two more from the kids. I then proceeded to the Valentine’s Day section of the drug store, where I found a wonderful array of chocolate and stuffed animals to throw in the gift bags for my wife.

I even managed to grab a bouquet of flowers from one of those “side of the road at the gas station” vendors and pranced home knowing I had this one locked up!

What happened next made me realize that the game was changing.

At gift presentation time, I offered to accept first because I wanted to end the festivities with my fireworks worthy bags of goodies. From the first set of heart shaped hand print’s I received, I knew this was going to be a rough ordeal. By the time I finished receiving my gifts, I wanted to crawl under a rock and hibernate for the rest of the winter. There was 2 sets of hand print, one from each of my kids, 2 hand made cards for Daddy and one very nice photo collage set inside a travel mug for me (Starbucks has em).

After giving my wife my embarrassing mish mash of crap, I vowed to do a better job in the coming years. This year, I was having trouble finding alone time with the kids to get things done. Between my shift work and my wife’s day care, there’ not a lot of private time to sneak them away.

I did manage to get it done though and although I think I still lost the battle, the war still has a good 20 years to go, LOL!

You be the judges, Here’s what I got:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough to top that but I think I put forth a valiant effort this year, including these gems:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we have an 11 X 14 painting done by the kids (hearts by daddy) and 3 hand made cards, including Daddy’s. Not too shabby right? PS – Check out the face my 3 year old drew by himself (Proud Dad). In the end, I think my wife got the best of me this time but I didn’t go down without a fight. By the way, I did get her one more thing (and even got teased at the store) before you start voting…..

 

That’s right, Game Over!!!

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day from Canadian Dad!!

 

 

Did I Really Cry During The Movie ‘Real Steel’???

If you’ve ever seen the TV show Friends, my wife would have accurately described me as the character Chandler. There was a specific episode where they revealed that Chandler couldn’t cry at anything that normal society deemed to be “emotional”. I was no different than him. Sad movies, TV shows, general life moments, I had no ability to cry. It’s not that I had no emotion, I just didn’t show it by turning on my eye faucets.

So, after drying my eyes at the end of the movie “Real Steel” yesterday, it occurred to me that I am a lot more emotional than I used to be. Things that used to make me feel like I wasn’t normal for not crying at are completely sucking the testosterone out of me and replacing it with estrogen.

I started noticing the changes shortly after my father passed away 5 years ago. Here is a really nice article that was done by a sports writer here in Ottawa about him. We even started a foundation in his name, where we give back to underprivileged children who can’t afford to compete in sports. It’s called The Gil Read Memorial Foundation and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Shameless plug over. The changes were small at first. I had always welled up during the movie Rudy (what guy doesn’t) but for some reason, there was now a strange liquid pouring out of my eyes when Rudy takes to the field for the first time, with his fist pumping and a very overweight Jon Favreau uttering my favourite line of the movie “Who’s the Wild Man now”!

I remember starting to cry during an episode of American Idol when there was a contestant with a particularly touching story about his father. I remember my exact thought at that moment, “What the F*ck is going on here?!” I realized at that moment that everything had changed. In fact, to this day, any story/commercial/song/grocery flyer that had anything to do with a father/son, brings on this well of emotion that I have no control over.

Just as I had come to terms with this new, blubbering version of myself and had even found ways to disguise it, my wife gave birth to my son and all bets were off.

I now have 2 children and every day they grow older is a day that I get a little bit less manly. I think the first real indicator was when I started feeling the tingles in my chest while trying to fight back tears during Finding Nemo. I mean, what was this feeling I was having? Clearly my brain was confused. After all, this was just a cartoon movie.

Nowadays it seems like everything sets me off, especially anything involving kids. From episodes of Criminal Minds and American Idol to movies like Lord of The Rings, Toy Story 3 & the aforementioned Real Steel, I am a blubbering mess. If you haven’t seen it yet, Real Steel is a movie about Robot Boxing….yep, cried.

I should point out that I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be moved by things and I know that there are reasons for the changes. It’s just a big change to go through, especially for me, considering I had barely cried up until about 5 years ago and now I can barely fight it off during shows like Man vs. Food.

Have you guys noticed any changes in the way you react to movies/shows since you’ve had children? Ladies, feel free to rat out your men here, they’re not reading anyway and I won’t tell them!

Cheers!!

Sh*t My Kids Say #1 – The Bad Dream

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 the decision to create a new 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.

The first edition of this category features a conversation my son and I had about a bad dream he had the night before and it goes a little something like this.

D: “Luke, how come you came into our bed last night?”

L: “I had a bad dream”

D: “What was your bad dream about?”

L: “Your shirt”

D: “What?”

L: “Your shirt”

D: “What did my shirt do to you?”

L: “It’s blue”

D: “Are you afraid of the colour blue?”

L: “Noooooo, boop, boop, boop”

D: “???????”

End of Conversation.

I was pretty sure by the end of this conversation that he hadn’t been paying attention to me the whole time but I’m still sort of confused by the end result. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll have better luck the next time….

Dads, Kids, Video Games and Animal Awareness

There’s something about being a man that instills in me a need to excel at video games. I’m not talking about a specific genre of video game or gaming system, I mean that I feel the need to excel at EVERY video game I play.

So it was no surprise that I found myself wanting the same for my children, especially my son, who is now at the age where he is showing a lot of interest in them.

It began with some iPhone puzzle games and then evolved into an Angry Birds obsession that was beyond comprehension. My daughter started wanting to play too but she mostly just stares at the birds on the screen and laughs when they make noises. I have no expectations for her as far as gaming goes, it’s stereotypically a male thing anyway.

Now before I continue, I want to point out to all the parents who think letting your kids play with electronics is bad, that I am a dedicated father who loves to play things with my kids other that video games. We are an outdoor family who loves sunshine and snow alike but sometimes we also like to enjoy a good video game too, so back off!! LOL.

Back to my son, he recently saw a friend playing Mario Kart for the Nintendo Wii and decided that he wanted to play too. He’d seen the Mario box at our house but never knew what it was until that day. He started asking about it but I figured at 3 years old, he probably wasn’t ready yet. I lasted about 2 months before caving the other night and on went the Wii.

Had I known the reaction this monumental event was going to get, I would have started videotaping sooner but better late than never I guess. When I said yes, Luke began running around in circles like a maniac, shouting “Mario, Mario, Mario!!!!” His sister followed suit except her shrieks sounded more like “Mayo, Mayo, Mayo!!”, of course we knew better than to give her a cup of mayo. Even trying to explain the chaotic scene, there’s no way to properly do it justice.

Now, I understand that Luke is only 3 years old but when a video game starts, a man tends to lose control of his regular brain functions and turns into a modified version of a young boy. Common sense doesn’t apply and the competitive side comes out in full force. So on day 2 of playing Mario Kart, I fully expected my son to have figured it all out and to be crushing the computer Princess in every race. This was not the case.

The reality of it is that he has no idea what he’s supposed to do and just likes playing with the Wii steering wheel that came with the game. I think the fact the he has his serious face on is what throws me off, as it looks like he ‘IS’ Mario and wants to win at all costs. In reality, that’s the type of focus kids portray with most things they do and it took everything in my power to not yell “You have to turn there man!!” or “”Shoot the Banana at that guy!!”.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed and I took some time to enjoy watching the gaming experience through his eyes. I even found out that we must be doing something right as parents because Luke stopped driving the Kart at one point to let the cartoon cows cross the road, explaining that he didn’t want to hurt them.

Point is, when he eventually figures out that he’s losing the game, he’ll probably get upset about it and I’ll lie and tell him it’s just a game. For an adult male, playing video games, there’s no such thing as “Just a game” because if it was in fact just a game, we wouldn’t be playing it. We eventually to get too old or too fat to do anything else well and this becomes a place where we can excel at something into our later years.

Don’t believe me? Ask my wife about my journey through all the Call of Duty games. Ask my Mom about her experience living with my gamer brother. As the saying goes, “You can’t take the boy out of the man”.

Do you have a funny gaming story? Share it below in the comments and don’t forget to do the Facebook/Twitter thing if you liked this post. Thanks for your continued support!!

Cheers!!