Archive for the ‘ Storytelling ’ Category

“I Pack My Camel Shoes, Just In Case”: Okiedog Backpack Review

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

The brown UPS truck drives past our house every day at 6:03 PM. You always like to assume, “He brings a gift… for me?

Well, last Thursday just happened to be your lucky day. He brought you your new backpack for the new school season.

You chose a panda bear, as part of the “Wildpack” series of Okiedog; the same brand where we found my “daddy diaper bag” four months ago. As the picture above makes clear, you were definitely excited about your new backpack.

Not to mention, you were very eager to try it out. So eager, in fact, that we decided to go on a family walk, immediately.

Before we could leave, you decided you needed to pack it with something first. Without hesitation, you turned to the hutch where we keep our shoes:

“I pack my camel shoes… just in case.”

It was so funny, and totally caught me off guard at the time, that I couldn’t process your statement quickly enough to laugh:

By “camel shoes,” you were referring to your camouflage shoes.

As to why you might suddenly need camouflage shoes during a 10 minute walk in our neighborhood, I’m still unsure.

Either way, you wanted to be prepared.

So we made our journey down the sidewalk, with your “camel shoes” in your new backpack.

You were so proud to display your new “gift from the brown truck” that you didn’t realize your pants had fallen down, and yet, you continued walking.

After Mommy pulled your pants up, you decided to start collecting rocks for your existing collection, which we keep at our front door.

Even though you could have easily stored your rocks in your backpack with your camel shoes, you chose to hold them in your left hand, since you were already clenching your elephant with your right.

Granted, that made it difficult to keep collecting new rocks.

It goes without saying, you made sure you wore your backpack to school the next day, simply if nothing else, for the reason of showing it off to your friends…

And actually, they asked me where you got it; the style of it is very unique in the midst to most other kids’ backpacks.

It reminds me of the kind of thing I saw back 10 years ago when I taught English in Bangkok, Thailand.

I’m happy the brown truck brought a gift for you… even if you still haven’t come across an emergency were you suddenly needed your camel shoes!





P.S. Here’s a secret promo code to get 20% off anything on Okiedog‘s website, good through September 30, 2013.


Add a Comment

When Others Think Your Kid Behaved Better Than You Thought

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

All Mommy and I really could do was just embrace ourselves and expect for the worst, as we boarded the plane yesterday morning from Nashville. It was your first time with your own seat on a plane (and that we’ve had to pay for one for you) and we didn’t know if that would be better or worse than you sitting in Mommy’s lap like the other two times we’ve flown to California.

The 90 minute flight to Minneapolis was fine, being that we all had to wake up at 3:30 AM to get to the airport in time. You were in a daze.

And during the one hour layover in Minneapolis, you were fine, because they offered free use of tablets, which you took advantage of by watching clips on YouTube of Jeeps plowing through the mud.

But by the 2nd half of the 3 and a half hour flight to San Francisco, you had plenty of energy to release… in the form of kicking the seats of the people in front of us.

I immediately (!) corrected that- by letting you kicking my legs instead.

It was the best idea I could come up with.

Trying to discipline an overtired, energetic, and restless toddler on a plane is a tricky thing.

After all, everyone was watching. And I just simply wanted to subdue you and most importantly, not make a scene.

Mommy was able to tone you down a little bit by pulling out crayons and coloring books for you.

About that time, the man sitting across the aisle from me, a friendly Wisconsin resident named Tom Potter and his wife let you borrow a couple of their grandson’s books… ones that you’ve never read, like Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop.

Soon after the plane landed, Tom and his wife, as well as the lady sitting next to them, all individually commented on how well-behaved you were.

My reaction was something like this: “Ha ha! Oh? Really?.. Um, thanks!”

I had prepared for a a meltdown, but fortunately, it never happened. This was a situation where less was more.

It was best to not try to discipline you for being an overtired, energetic, and restless little boy. You just needed a distraction.

In reality, you weren’t the token brat on the plane that annoys everybody. What a relief!

Having those people tell me that you were well-behaved made me feel really good.

As for the hour and 50 minute drive from San Francisco to Sacramento, you fell hard asleep about 10 minutes into the ride.






Add a Comment

No More Monkeys Jumpin’ On The Bed!

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

You have now officially been to the Midwest!

While visiting the zoo in Louisville, Kentucky, our hotel was actually right across the Ohio River, in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Of course, technically, Louisville is, in my opinion, half Southern and half Midwestern, as the confusing pronunciation of its name exemplifies.

It’s either the most northern Southern city or the most southern Northern city of America… I don’t think anyone really knows for sure.

Either way, I love the whole Louisville area (including the Indiana side) because it all reminds me so much of Nashville.

So I had mentioned a few days ago how Mommy and I had been hyping you up for the exciting fold-out couch you would be sleeping on in the hotel.

Your “big boy bed,” as I kept referring to it.

Yeah, well, guess who ended up sleeping in your big boy bed…

That’s right; the biggest boy in our family of three… Daddy.

All I remember is you laying down with me on the fold-out couch watching a horse race on TV, then waking up 7 hours later to find out you and Mommy got to sleep in the real bed without me.

I didn’t mind…

Hey, I got 7 hours of sound sleep; that’s a pretty big deal for me, especially after driving 3 hours at night in the rain with you refusing to fall asleep in the car.

As you can see from these pictures, which sort of remind me of a 1990′s mosh pit at a grunge concert, you had a good time jumping on the bed, like those monkeys we sing about sometimes.

Fortunately, despite all your contorting, you never fell off and bumped your head or injured yourself in anyway.

This was not only your first Midwestern road trip, but it was also your first hotel experience.

I had hoped you’d like the fun fold-out couch, but I’ll settle for getting a full night’s rest out of it myself, as well as getting to watch you the next morning go crazy jumping around on the bed that I was supposed to get to sleep on.





Add a Comment

Clorox Apologizes For Their Offensive “New Dads” Article

Friday, June 28th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Have I ever had to apologize for a misunderstood satirical comment I’ve made in social media? Yes.

To publish a 400 word blog post 25 times a month puts me in a potentially vulnerable and dangerous situation. So I am trying to be compassionate with the people responsible for the current Clorox fiasco/social media nightmare.

After all, some people are having the worst week ever (!) right now and I would hate to come across as a bully.

So in order to explain what happened, I’ll start with the beginning… no, actually it would make more sense to start with the most recent part of the story. Here’s what Clorox posted on Facebook today:

“As you may have seen we recently removed a website article, ‘New Dads’, that was a part of a series of humor pieces on modern parenting. It was never our intention to diminish the important role of dads. The dad who wrote the piece for us actually was trying to poke fun at the caricature of ‘the hapless dad.’ To some of you it didn’t come across that way and we apologize. We’ve been talking with many of you throughout the day and appreciate the feedback.”

You may be wondering what the removed article said. Well, even though it was “removed,” I still found it, right here.

I do want to point out some of the article’s most offensive/bizarre lines. The most infamous and most quoted one is found in the introduction:

“Like dogs or other house pets, new Dads are filled with good intentions but lacking the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well.”

The article soon warns that new dads may put clothing on their child backwards and that “hip-hop fashions should wait a couple of years.”

Then there’s the weird line about exposing infants to reality TV shows, referring to the colorful moving yell-box.”

And comparing an infant’s eating habits to “a spastic Harlem Shake dancer.” 

Mmm… and then the reference to The Hangover movie… I guess:

Casino: Some new dads have been inspired by raunchy comedies to bring babies to inappropriate places like casinos, pool halls, and poetry readings. None of these places are healthy for baby. If Dad needs persuading, just tell him that babies are terrible tippers and can never make bank shots.”

Uh… what?!

(I’m going to pretend I didn’t just see the phrase “poetry readings.”)

This Clorox story is viral right now because so many people see this thing as offensive. Sure, I totally see where they’re coming from. In fact, my friend at 8BitDad, Zach Rosenberg, points at why this “humor piece” is not sitting well with a lot of parents:

The problem is that these toxic images and jokes at the expense of dads do a couple of things: they continue the ignorant thinking that only mothers can care for babies. These images attempt to widen the divide between moms and dads – where dad is forced to be one of the kids and mom is burdened with all of the housework. These images discourage fathers from being the best that they can be – hey, if Clorox thinks dads shouldn’t touch the baby, maybe we should skip the grueling newborn phase, dump the baby on mom and go hang out with our buddies? Where does that leave us?”

I totally agree!

At the same time, I personally struggle with finding the Clorox article to be offensive; mainly because I’m so distracted at the very bizarre attempt at humor.

Clorox is evidently currently protecting the identify of the freelance writer who wrote it, but I can’t help but get the feeling that the dad doesn’t have much experience blogging in regards to parenting.

I assume it’s common knowledge in the parenting blogging community that it’s beyond taboo to insult either moms or dads, as a group. Sure, you can make fun of yourself, as an individual parent, but not an entire gender; even in satire.

The tone of the Clorox ad is so literally unbelievable and unnatural that I actually wondered if it was an Internet troll that hacked the Clorox website somehow.

In their Facebook apology, Clorox proclaims, “To some of you it didn’t come across that way and we apologize.”

Well, uh… it’s just that usually there’s some kind of hint that something is satire, if it truly is intended to be. However, nothing about the article hints at being satirical… or more importantly, even funny.

I’ve spent the past 24 hours reading related articles (and comments on those articles) and I’ve yet to find one person who thought the article was actually humorous.

Is it offensive? Yes, to many.

Is it funny? No… in fact, it’s so awkward, I’m going to back away now while smiling and nodding my head…




Add a Comment

I Approve Of Kanye West’s Name Choice: North West

Monday, June 24th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

A week ago, I spent a lot of time carefully writing about  ABC 20/20′s “D is For Dad And Dumb,” in which they advised dads for Father’s Day, “don’t be an idiot.”

I proposed that 20/20 do a segment about how dads are tired of being  portrayed as classic idiots. I suggested they show that the modern dad is very involved and caring.

They could interview me and let me explain it on national TV how a normal dad feels about the way we were are stereotyped. It could be a segment called “D is For Dad and Dignified.”

[Insert crickets chirping.]

But in hindsight, what I think people really want to read about these days is what Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their daughter:

North West.

So today, I’m going to be relevant. I’m going to talk about what Kanye West named his daughter.

My response is, “Really? That’s it? That’s the worst he could do for his child’s name?”

Especially from the wondrous and innovative Kanye West, I was expecting something like really out there like Armageddon, or Platinum, or 808s.

Instead, it’s a name that I personally think is kind of cool. At least, it’s a whole lot better than a lot of the names that are popular these days; ones I won’t publicly admit I think are weird.

Of course, if I was going to name a kid North, it would be a boy’s name…

So to name a baby girl North, it seems a bit different; yet again, not that weird compared to other girl names I hear on Facebook.

Granted, the most peculiar part, I guess, about the name North is that the last name is West, which is a very specific direction.

But… I don’t know, compared to American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, it’s hard for me to see how “North West” is much more than quirky, at worst.

I totally don’t care what Kanye West named his daughter, as I shouldn’t. If anything, though, I think I might be slightly disappointed that he didn’t choose something more bizarre.

Ultimately, if Kanye West needs my approval on his child’s name in order to keep his level of self-confidence, then let it be clear:

I approve!

Tune in tomorrow when I talk to you about something that actually matters.





Top photo: Joe Seer / (Kanye West in the press room at the 59th Annual Primetime.)

Bottom photo: s_bukley / (West Hollywood- July 14: Kim Kardashian, Kanyet West at the opening of the new Dash store on July 13, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.)

Add a Comment