Mabel’s First Birthday

We need to talk about this cake-smearing business

We need to talk about this cake-smearing business

Last weekend, my beautiful baby girl had her first birthday. We celebrated by taking her to a doctor’s office and sticking her with a needle in each leg, sending foreign chemicals coursing through her body, and then taking her home to drug her so that she may better tolerate and hopefully not remember about the chemicals. We then had 25 people that she barely knows come to the house and shout a song she’s never heard before very loudly at her while we tried to force-feed her something she’s never eaten. But it sure beat what she was doing last year.

Despite the overwhelming amount of seemingly unwanted attention (and drugs) she received, Mabel enjoyed being out on the porch playing with her cousins and her new toys. But this party wasn’t for her. It was for mommy and daddy. It was our chance to show off what awesome and fun parents we are. So we (Jenn) spent the night before the party making teddy bear-shaped cookies and cupcakes, with Nilla wafer ears and chocolate chip eyes. It was like Christmases to come, waiting for her to go to sleep so we could get to work on her presents. We (Jenn) also found napkins and plates with teddy bears holding a number one. We also bought Teddy Grahams and Gummi Bears and took the C.E.O. to Build-a-Bear so she could have her own new teddy that she (kinda) picked out. And finally, we (Fiona (Jenn’s friend)) had a little cake with her name spelled on Nilla wafers and a Teddy Grahams stuck in it, etc. that looked totally like we knew what we were doing. Which was awesome because I had no idea what we were doing. Jenn told me last weekend her birthday party was going to be teddy bear-themed. I wandered aimlessly through Target looking for all things teddy and eventually bought burgers and hot dogs, mumbling “There’s no Teddy Bear-themed stuff in here!” to myself, Mabel and three teenage girls walking by. But the C.F.O. knows how to throw a theme party. Apparently.

The party was scheduled from 12-3pm. Mabel went down for a nap at 12:30, like a good hostess. We’ve all had those kind of parties, right? We woke her up at 1:30 so the party attendees could all see the cake-smearing before they left. So not only was Mabel just woken up from a nap that probably should have lasted another hour or so (remember the shots?), but we immediately forced her into the spotlight and made her perform. So it’s not too shocking that she sat there staring at all the sugar just hoping daddy would cut her up some strawberries and save her from this. So it wasn’t the happy, cake-smearing birthday everybody wanted to see, but there was some grimacing and stares of judgment that made up for it.

A special thanks to all who came, notably Aunt Karen who helped put the streamers all over the deck in a way that looked like she had taken a class on it and Aunt Michele who, by the time I had turned around to offer to take back over for her, had cooked all the hot dogs and hamburgers we had. And of course to Fiona for the awesome cake that didn’t get eaten and my sister’s family for making the long drive down with the boys. And for everybody who brought presents. Except for that damn cat that I can still hear yelling “Catch me!” from the bottom of her toy box whenever I move it.

But mostly, thanks to everybody for taking pictures. The C.F.O. and I were too busy to remember to do that or assign it to anyone. Thankfully, you can’t swing a stick these days without hitting somebody that has a phone with a high-res camera with video capability. So thanks to all of you and sorry about hitting you all with a stick.

See you all at the two year party! Which, since Mabel will have thoughts and opinions by then, will be more about her and less about mommy and daddy. Which is fine by me. At least we’ll have someone else to blame.

The Evolution of Father’s Day

The Past

The Evolution of a Dad

The Evolution of a Dad

Prior to this year, I had a Father’s Day routine. Since my dad’s death in 2005, I would spend an entire week (I called Father’s Week) writing stories of my dad on my other, much messier blog. Because I had that kind of time. Well, I did this twice. I would also watch Big Fish and call a couple friends I have who also lost their fathers. My dad was an enigma of sorts to me with a sordid past that he kept distanced from me for good reason. He was a bookie and a back-room poker dealer until the year he died, so who knows what kind of a grifter he was before I was born. This is why Big Fish reminds me so much of him.

But more to the point, I had decided to forgo watching Big Fish this year – or at least I decided to celebrate my father’s life – on his birthday, freeing up Father’s Day for a new routine. I will also move my Father’s Week to his birthweek. However, I will still do my best to reach out to my friends with deceased fathers on this day every year. It seems weird to do that on my dad’s birthday.

The Present
Obviously, Father’s Day has an entirely new meaning for me, and happily so. I love spending time in the past reminiscing about my dad, but I am a father of my own now. And to that point, I get to finally reap the benefits of this new holiday. And when you’re a stay-at-home dad to a baby who can’t appreciate what Father’s Day means yet, that means a day off. But when you’re married to my wife, who graciously spent all of her first Mother’s Day on the road, driving home from seeing my family, you don’t want to push it. I played my football game in the morning and eventually got to see Man of Steel, which Zach Snyder predictably zacked up, but there were errands I ran in between. So I didn’t get to spend my entire day at the movies doing the theater-hopping-on-one ticket thing that I’ve still never done. Still, this Father’s Day, it felt nice to say “I’m going to the movies” and then actually go to the movies.

The Future
One of these years, my daughter will be able to appreciate what Father’s Day means. And when that day comes, I’ll be happy to spend it with my daughter doing whatever it is she thinks will make me feel special (with mommy’s help of course). I don’t want her thinking that I always want to spend this day – which is only a holiday for me because of her existence – in a dark movie theater by myself with 250 strangers. If she wants to take me to the zoo, I’ll let her take me to the zoo. But until then, I look forward to stocking up on Raisinets and hiding in a dark theater for a couple hours, appreciating myself for the hard work I do the other 364 days of the year. Next year, without Zach Snyder.

Daddy’s First Father’s Day Card

"I wish my dad played golf so I could get him a Father's Day card." - Unknown

“I wish my dad played golf so I could get him a Father’s Day card.” – Unknown

I got my first Father’s Day card in the mail Wednesday from my Nana and I honestly didn’t see it coming. Yes, I’m in a show for Father’s Day (maybe you’ve heard?) and already have plans for the day (kinda), but I completely forgot other people know that I’m a dad and I might actually receive recognition as such. Maybe it’s because the CEO’s first birthday is the following Friday and I’m all geared up to receive presents and cards (do babies get cards?) for her that I ceased to remember that I have a day of recognition coming up too, even if I did feel like “Every day is Father’s Day” or some nonsense like that. Which I don’t. At least not enough to turn down a day off.

So it felt good. Not just to get a card of recognition for having inseminated my wife two years ago, and not even because I feel like I’m doing a good job as a dad, but it felt good that I didn’t even see it coming – that I didn’t think so much of my job as a dad that I expected anything. Of course, now that the gate has been opened, I do have some expectations. So the next card might not be met with such reverence as this one. So thanks, Nana, for starting my Father’s Day off on the right foot. You win. I win. Mabel wins. Pretty much everybody wins. Except Jenn. Because she has to take care of Mabel and plan her party while I go hide in a movie theater all day.

Happy Father’s Day to me!

One Last Plea

Hello again, fellow surfers of the interseas. I know I mentioned my show, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home already, but what I may not have said is that I demand all of you come to see it. If you cannot, you should buy a ticket anyway. If you tell them you’re not coming, you may get a discount. If not to hear a touching, funny story about a former day camp director quitting his job to hang with his daughter full-time, then to see this picture projected on the screen behind me the whole time.

Mopey Mabel

Mopey Mabel

It will totally be worth it. Check out more info and buy your tickets at this website. Thanks and I’ll see you all there.

Daddy Takes the Stage

fathers day montage

Hey friends and random dad blogging fans (you people are my favorite!). Sorry about the recent hiatus. I will explain that at a slightly later time.

But now is not that time. Now is the time to promote a show I will be in called “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home” this Saturday 6/15 (Father’s Day Eve) in DC. It’s a storytelling show with 8 dads telling live true stories about their kids. The stories range in scope from funny to moving, but they’re all worth the price of admission.

This show has definitely taken the cake as far as production value. There will be photos and videos of our kids on stage, an upright bassist and free massages for the first 50 people (that one was a lie). I will be telling the story of how I came to be a stay-at-home dad and life after that decision. Just to give you a taste, here’s a line from my story.

  • “And all this is totally worth it when we go to pick up my wife at the Metro and after being away from her for 11 hours, our daughter will see my wife, wave her hands very excitedly and say “Da-da!”

That’s enough of a taste. Come out Saturday at either 7pm or 9pm to see the rest of it along with 7 other awesome stories about what it means and what it takes to be a dad these days.

Check out the Event Website for more details. Or the facebook event, if you’re into that kind of thing.