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Can I get this t-shirt in a 2T?

@Stuff4blackppl: Wearing these shirts pic.twitter.com/m0zSJwPKAr” I need this for The Kid.— David Lingholm (@davidlingholm) December 28, 2013 I want this shirt for The Kid because she can't tell people herself, and frankly, the white women who ask me tend to ignore me anyway.

My most recent example came as we were getting ready to leave Tampa after our last, heartbreaking visit, we stopped at an Einstien Bagels for breakfast. I was topping off my coffee, holding The Kid in my left arm when an innocent looking white woman asked if she could say hi to my adorable daughter. Naively, I thought that someone asking was a welcome change to the random people who decide they absolutely must touch her hair.

This particular random decided that The Kid's response to her was so cute (she tried crawling into my ribcage), that, "I just have to touch that hair!"

Mind you, the number of randoms who want to touch The Kid are pretty small and the number who want to touch her hair ar…

Today is the 40th annual Davemas, and it seems less important than ever

When you birthday is just three days away from Christmas, it's easy to feel like you're being overlooked. As a kid, my mom would work hard to separate my birthday and Christmas, but there was only so much she could do. Other kids had great parties, mine were usually small if I had one, I think because most parents were sick of Christmas parties by then. And the pile of gifts, when adding my my birthday, rarely looked any different than any other kid in the family on Christmas day.

Things as an adult actually became worse. I worked for Meijer throughout college, so I usually worked the night of my birthday. I thought I had escaped that fate when I graduated from Oakland University, but I ended up working at Kroger in store management, which guaranteed I would work on my birthday.

As a result, I became pretty obnoxious about my birthday and started calling it Davemas around my 30th birthday. I wasn't working in retail at the time, so I could enjoy an entire day of drinking …

Kindness from friends, family and complete strangers. It will be my enduring memory of this particular funeral.

My mother-in-law passed away December 2, 2013. Just a week before, we packed up the our car and made the drive down because she was rushed to the hospital and had to be resuscitated several times during her first few hours in the emergency department. We hit the road, hoping for the best and fearing the worst.

Our drive to Tampa took significantly longer than usual, specifically because of nasty fog and terrible road conditions in Tennessee.  We arrived late on Thanksgiving Eve, spent and heartbroken from the knowledge that this trip would be the last time we would see Rosa alive.

As you might expect, the following week was a blur of activity. There were phone calls to make, cousins to console, funeral plans to make, clothes to buy (we were really hoping for the best), and a toddler to keep entertained.

The kindness of a five year-old boy The night of the visitation, one of my sister-in-law's good friends gave us a sympathy card with gift cards for our trip home, which we are st…

Yes, I am well aware I cannot cloister my daughter for the next 38 years

Few comments offend me. By the time I've overanalyzed what someone has said to me, I've usually chalked their comment up to ignorance, their own hubris, or their incorrect perception of who I am.

However, some comments burn at me because they come from people who I expect more from. Today's was a comment about the kid, my future relationship with her to be exact. For context, the jabs about me being a protective Papa started and at some point, the old saw about me not wanting The Kid to date until she's 30 or 40 was brought out.

"You do realize she's not for you, don't you?" That was the comment, asked with legitimate concern, as if I'm a predator. Maybe I'm being dramatic, but that's not something you ask as a joke. And then I was given a small lecture on the need to equip her with the tools to fend off the boys instead of just cloistering her.

No sh*t Sherlock.

I am old fashioned enough to be concerned about the safety of my kid, espe…

Another milestone reached and I'm grateful for the reminder

One of the hardest things about adopting, at least for me, was the visitation process.  I understand why it exists, especially with older kids. Everyone needs to time to adjust to the idea that they're about to become a family. But dropping The Kid off at her foster family's house after a visit was always a heart-wrenching experience for me.

Today marks one year since the day The Kid went home with us to stay.

365 days ago, we transitioned into a phase where we given the power of attorney to a child of the State of Michigan. We literally had papers we needed to carry with us everywhere to prove we could sign for her care.

It sounds so cold when I think of it in those terms, which is in stark contrast to the memories I have of that season. We picked her up that night from her foster family, tears were shed all the way around because it was a big transition for all of us. The next day Gladys came down with the flu, I battled a sinus infection and The Kid felt fine.

I remember f…

30 days of thankfulness in one post

It seems that I know several people who have made it a point to devote a status update on The Facebook to something they are grateful for everyday in November. I admire those friends, because I know I don't spend enough time expressing my gratitude or thankfulness. And, while I do have a lot to be thankful for, I don't want to try cramming it all on The Facebook in the last few days of November. For the curious, here's my list of 30 things I'm thankful for this November, in no particular order.

Maple syrup. I don't know how people can live without the stuff.The love and understanding of my wife. I can be a prickly person to live with, but she is always in my corner and I take a lot of comfort in that knowledge. My daughter. In case you're wondering why, keep reading my blog. Detroit. Sometimes I feel battered by the city, other times I'm hopelessly in love with the place. As infuriating as the city can be, it has given me a place to call home while I grew a…

I think I've been watching too much children's television

I'm a television addict. As much as I try to turn off the TV and walk away, I frequently find myself reaching for the remote so I can watch a little more HGTV or Headline News. Unless baseball is in season, than I'm almost exclusively a Fox Sports Detroit/MLB TV kinda guy.

That is until The Kid came along. We didn't want to fill her head with a bunch of junk, but we couldn't seem to get through most days without the glowing box shining brightly in our living room. So we started with Baby First TV, which gave us the scintillating shows Harry the Bunny, Fred and Fiona, and VocabuLARRY. We have since transitioned into harder core toddler television. Now our days start with Little Bill and end with Wibbly Pig.

And here's my dirty little secret, I like these shows. Little Bill is smartly written, and we nicknamed The Kid's great grandmother after Little Bill's grandmother, Alice The Great. I like the little Spanish lessons Nina sprinkles into the Good Night Sh…

The Kid and aquariums: A match made in heaven

One weekend several months ago, The Kid and I visited the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit. It was a fun way to kill a few hours, and afterward, she was still brimming with energy so we walked toward the botanical gardens. As we crossed the bridge by the Belle Isle Aquarium, we found that it was open and free to the public that Saturday.

That's when I discovered my daughter's love of aquariums. Since I moved to the city some 13 years ago, I'd been in the aquarium a handful of times. It was always pleasant, but sparse compared to modern standard. It's reincarnation was made possible by the Belle Isle Conservancy, and they've done an excellent job with a shoestring budget to reopen the facility.

The Kid was mesmerized. Even with her energy waining, she sat in my arms fixated on every display. When I would walk away from a tank, she would sob until we walked back. Needless to say, I received a healthy upper-body workout from lifting her high enough …

An apology to my colleagues or I really want to make parenting a toddler sound appealing

Whenever we start talking about kids in the office, a few of us parents automatically devolve to the grossest thing our kid did recently or look up from our fifth cup of coffee in a bleary-eyed state long enough to announce that we're exhausted by yet another night of teething. This leads to several comments like:
"And that's why I have cats.""You really make parenting sound appealing. NOT!""People want to be parents, why?" I get it. It's natural for parents to commiserate with fellow parents, even when they're children are much older than yours, because they get it. They get why you're excited over a sale on Pull-Ups, they laugh at your tales of trying to properly dispose of the shrapnel left by explosive bowel movements while nodding acknowledgement, they help console you during the third week of Stage 4 teething. You can share without guilt because you know they understand.
Sadly, those without children that are within earshot, ofte…

Enjoying a once-a-year treat at the Detroit Institute of Arts

One of the things I appreciate most about living near downtown Detroit is our proximity to the arts, specifically to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Gladys and I have always enjoyed taking a spontaneous trip to the museum, and we're finding The Kid likes it too. In fact, our favorite nights to go now are Fridays because they always have plenty of activities each of us enjoy happening throughout the DIA.

After work last Friday, I picked The Kid up from daycare and we headed straight for the DIA for a "papa/daughter" date as we waited for Gladys to come home from a work trip. After crushing some Mac and Cheese (The Kid's current favorite meal), we headed through the American Art section after finding the hall leading to Rivera Court closed. Apparently, this was the night before the big DIA gala and crews were busy setting up for the event.

Rivera Court was closed too, which was going to be a huge disappointment. After I read several signs to The Kid about the art in a fe…

Nursery rhymes are creepy and disturbing

I've been ruminating on this for a while, especially after learning about the alleged plague interpretation of the history behind Ring Around the Rosie. I stopped singing Rock-a-bye Baby to The Kid because when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall and who really wants to teach their kids that they're going to fall out of a tree while they are sleeping?

Some have proposed the inspiration of Three Blind Mice was Queen Mary I of England, otherwise known as Bloody Mary. While scholars at Rutgers note that it is possible this nursery rhyme was rooted in the politics of the time, there is no definitive proof of her having three political adversaries dismembered in any fashion.

Regardless, who really wants to teach their kids to sing about dismembering rodents? Isn't there something more positive we can sing to our kids?

When you start singing Humpty Dumpty, don't you picture an egg? That is a thoroughly modern interpretation of this particular ditty, with historians deba…

Maybe it's time to start rethinking a few of my own biases

I met the boyfriend of someone very close to me today. He wanted to make a good first impression, and luckily, he decided the best way to do that was just to be himself. As soon as most men in his position start trying to be impressive, they put on a false front and lose me. My grandfather used to say you can't bullshit a bullshitter, and I learned to be patient while learning from him not to accept bullshit.

Anyway, midway through lunch, this young man impressed me most when he told Gladys and I how much he admired us for adopting. Usually, when I hear this, I cringe because it's usually followed by a comment about how "those kids" need a good family to bring them up right. 
Admittedly, I interpret the phrase "those kids" as "those brown kids" when it's white folk who say that to me, because there is always the wink and nod that is supposed to convey understanding among pale people. That wink and nod usually tell me that the only way kids ar…

Keeping The Kid from shrinking

This is a hard post for me to write because I know sexism is alive and well in American culture. I've witnessed it first hand, and women are just as likely to be the perpetrator as men. I've watched female colleagues labeled as obstinate and problem employees for expressing the same concerns in the same meeting that I have expressed, when I walk away unscathed by criticism. Our collective sexist culture exists in families as well, where sons can do no wrong and daughters are told to stop provoking their brothers. There are multitudes of statistics and studies that point to male bias in the workplace and in families as well.

I am not here to debate that, although I still have trouble wrapping my mind around the alleged superiority of one gender over another. Instead, I'm trying to learn how I can help my daughter from feeling that she needs to shrink herself, or deprive herself in order to keep the peace in the workplace or in a relationship. 
All women deserve a chance to …

Year one with The Kid, the start of an amazing life as a family

One year ago, I was running to the Target in the Eastland Mall because we needed a camera fast.  I woke up that morning, realizing that we would always want to remember that day with better photos than we would get from our smartphones. I was on a conference call for work as I ran through the store, half paying attention because I needed to hurry back to pick up Gladys so we could get to Catholic Social Services of Wayne County in time for our meeting.

I didn't want to be late for our first chance to meet The Kid.

Gladys and I were both nervous. We had seen a few pictures during our last visit with our social worker, and we had the family history the agency was allowed to release to us, but we didn't know a thing about The Kid's personality. Was she shy or playful? Would she be scared or was she curious about her surroundings? Would she cry when she met us or would she warm up to us? Would she like us?

We agreed to try playing it cool when we met her. We wouldn't rush…

Are toddlers more dangerous than honey badgers?

Toddlers are dangerous. They like doing things such as attempting to run at full speed between their dad's legs or my personal favorite, decide to end cuddle time with a nice tap dance routine on your lap. All new fathers should be given a cup and instructions about when to start wearing it because it can seem like your toddler wants to make sure they are the last child you'll ever have.

And as all dads know, there are the WWE style elbow drops to the gut and head-butts that would make Rowdy Roddy Piper cry with envy in store for each of us.

Like the honey badger, toddlers will put almost anything into their mouths, especially if you've told them no.  They will chase pets around the house until the pets are begging for you to find them a new home. In some ways, they just don't give a shit.

But then they do something cute, like clap when Whip It by Devo is played. Or they start singing your special song for them when you're getting them ready for bed. Or they shri…

To The Kid in 2023, please keep these 7 things going

To my daughter in 10 years,

Well kid, we've made it this far as a little family. I hope you feel loved and safe everyday you come home from school.  I also hope you understand that you deserve to be loved and treated with respect, now and for the rest of your life.

You're getting older now, and rather than give you a bunch of life advice that you probably don't want to hear, I will ask you to continue doing a few things that came naturally to you when you were a little girl. Feel free to read this away from your friends, I know you're at an age where reading a letter from Papa isn't cool, especially one he wrote to you a few weeks before the first anniversary of the day he met you.

1. Keep singing

One of my favorite things about my walks with you and Barney our first summer as a family was your singing. It usually started by the time we crossed the street over to Indian Village. I don't know what you were singing, but it was beautiful because you were so since…

Wally "Famous" Amos' attitude about his kids is why Wamos cookies will never touch my lips

As much as I respect the men who stay in their children's lives, I have little, if any, respect for a man who can just turn his back on his progeny. I'm a kid who had two "dads" decide they could walk away, so I admit to having a strong bias here. Please keep that in mind when I say I have lost any respect I ever had for Wally "Famous" Amos.

When I mistakenly took my second (and final) shot at making a multi-level marketing business work, I fully bought into their system of reading the recommended books once a month and listening to every recommended CD I could afford.  A few of the recommended books held Amos up as an excellent example of someone who took the lemons life handed him and made a cookie empire out of them. Even after he sold his initial business and rights to his likeness, he was portrayed as someone who just couldn't stay away from the business, so he launched Uncle Noname's Cookies.

When I started thumbing through the Southwest Airl…

My trip to Boston with Tiger

Lets get one thing out of the way, I did not go to Boston to meet with Mayor Menino. Although, I will gladly fly back in order to meet with his staff for planning, should he ever accept my invitation.

Instead, I was there for a Social Media and Web Analytics conference, something of great interest to me professionally. As I was packing, I snuck Tiger away in my backpack so we could make a cool photo album for The Kid.
The one thing I regret about going to this particular conference is not scheduling time for myself to wander around the city. The Greenway is beautiful and outside of dinner with a childhood friend, I didn't have much of an opportunity to dine like a local. Luckily, this is not the only time I'll be headed back to Beantown, I'm quite confident of that.
During lunch yesterday, Tiger and I snuck away from the conference to do a little exploring along the Fort Point Channel. We happily stumbled upon the Design Museum Boston's Street Seats exhibit (which, by…

Just when I start to think I'm a sucker...

Sometimes I think The Kid knows I'm a sucker. She knows I love her big, expressive brown eyes. She knows I love to pick her up and dance with her. She knows I love hearing her try to say please. She knows I'll read the same story over and over while she sits on her potty, regardless of how stiff my back gets on the hard tile floor. She knows that many things can be smoothed over with her Papa with a simple hug.

I struggle with wanting The Kid to know I love her and I will always support her, and the knowledge that caving in to a 19 month old is a recipe for disaster. 

Tonight was one of those nights where I thought I was getting played. We read the same five books twice as she tried to use the potty (potty training is brand new for her, so I'm trying to be as patient as possible). She was especially goofy when I was trying to brush her teeth. When Gladys closed the door, and the two of us were left alone for bedtime stories, The Kid decided it was time to run around her r…

An open dinner invitation to Boston mayor Thomas Menino

Dear Mayor Menino,

By now, your spokesperson has already done all the apologies necessary to the citizens of Detroit for your comments in the New York Times Magazine about blowing up Detroit. This Detroiter forgives you, even if my fellow denizens do not because I am confident your comment was about our ineffective city government.

However, your comment did show some insensitivity for people like me and my little family who call the city home. It will be used by people on the right of the political spectrum as proof that other mayors see Detroit as a lost cause, and by the left who see Detroit as an innocent victim of failed anti-labor policies.

Because I feel you deserve a deeper understanding of Detroit before you are pulled further into this morass of conversation, I invite you to have dinner with my family in Detroit. I promise a small dinner party with others who live, work, and play within the city limits to help deepen your understanding of our decisions call this city home.

Wrestling The Kid for control of my maple syrup malt

Great Grandma Ema returned home yesterday after a lengthy hospital and short-term nursing home stay as she recovered from a broken rib. Having her close to us was fun for visits during the week, but it was high time for her to return to the farm.  
So we packed up The Kid and headed to the farm for a visit. Ema had a Teddy Bear for her to play with, which we quickly discovered had a messy diaper, so The Kid got to work wiping the bear's bottom clean! She also had a blast in the playhouse, pretending to serve me all sorts of food.  
But the highlight of the day was our trip to Moo-ville. There are many things that make this a fun excursion for any kid. The petting zoo has a calf, goats, a pig, sheep, bantam chickens, rabbits, a horse and a donkey. Hands down, watching The Kid greet every animal was the best fun I've had in days. We did intentionally steer her away from the sandbox, for fear we would never get her to leave. We also skipped the dairy tour. I'm sure it's a…

The car ride to daycare (or anywhere) is much better without socks

According to The Kid, the best way to ride in the car is barefoot.  I would say this is genetic if The Kid wasn't adopted, and my mom would be ready with stories as proof. Almost 40 years later, she still likes telling stories about me stripping off my clothes at Johnny's Market in Vermontville.

For the past few months, she's been obsessed with taking her shoes and socks off the moment I put the car in gear for our drive to daycare, if not sooner. At some point, Gladys put The Kid's socks on her hands, which means she has one sock on her right hand most of the ride in. It also results in the occasional mid-level fit when you try to put her shoes and socks back on before entering any building.
I've done a number of things to keep her socks on since. Switching shoes worked for a day. Bringing her favorite stuffed animal only helped keep her footwear on until we left the parking lot of our building. Singing her favorite songs will get you an enthusiastic ovation, san…

Where is Billy Ray in all this Miley Cyrus mess?

After Miley Cyrus thrilled some and revolted millions with her act at Sunday's VMA's, a friend commented that he felt bad for her father Billy Ray for having witnessed his daughter's provocative scene. I believe he compared Billy Ray watching Miley's performance with going to a strip club and finding out it's your daughter on stage.

Before I go any further, let me get a few things off my chest. Yes, Robin Thicke deserves heat for his part and yes, it is a commentary on America's permissive rape culture.  This clearly points out the double standard we have for our daughters and sons. And lest you think this controversy is all just pop culture nonsense and we need to focus on the impending war in Syria, I think your argument is short-sighted because of the messages pop culture sends our daughters about their worth. Regardless of how hard parents try, pop culture does matter for at least a few years to impressionable teens.

Moving on... a part of me wanted to ag…

Turning STEM to STEAM and a missed opportunity

Thursday, I decided to head over to the Model D Speaker Series event, which was addressing art in education.  I went because the panel looked interesting and it was part of a concurrent discussion with Rapid Growth Media, another publication of the Issue Media Group, so I was hopeful there would be some excellent ideas flowing from the discussion.

I was not disappointed with the ideas. Art instruction as an integral part of education helps children learn problem solving, math and self-expression. I was heartened to hear the phrase, "turning STEM into STEAM" for the first time, because the arts have been out of our national discourse on education for far too long.

When the discussion turned to how to get elected leaders to start recognizing that art in schools should be encouraged rather than cut, my mood shifted.  A well-intentioned panel was talking about the need to just show people good art, point out the economic benefits artists bring to a city and maybe they will unde…

Camping with a teething kid

When we booked a weekend camping trip at the Interlochen State Park, Gladys and I were looking for a relaxing family weekend.  We ended up with a ton of sand, a new tent and a bunch of cute memories.

The majority of the camping trips I've been on have involved rain, including the weekend jaunt Gladys and I took last year before we knew The Kid was on her way.  It threatened rain the entire weekend, so Sunday morning when the sprinkles started, we decided to throw everything into the car and head home.

As Gladys was unpacking the car and corralling The Kid, I started pitching the tent. I was in the home stretch when we realized we left the rain fly out to dry and packed it away later, but not with the rest of the tent.  As a result, it was still in our closet in Detroit.  Which is why we decided to buy another tent. As a bonus, I've pitched two different tents the past two years in the dark.  It's a skill I think deserves a place on my LinkedIn profile.

We ended up leav…

A day at work with Papa

Keeping shoes on The Kid is a harder task than you might think. As soon as you put her in her car seat, you can hear the Velcro rip open and you know it's only a matter of nanoseconds before a shoe is tossed overboard.

In an ill-conceived attempt to keep her distracted from removing her shoes, I decided to throw her favorite doll, named Tiger, into her car seat. By the time we arrived at daycare some 15 minutes later, her shoes were thrown across the back seat of my car and Tiger was thankfully laying next to her car seat.

Because The Kid didn't realize Tiger was missing, she did not protest when we left Tiger in the car.  

On a whim, I decided Tiger could spend the day with me and we could prove she spent the day with Papa through photos. Sure, The Kid is too young to understand now, but in a few years, she'll think these photos are great.  At least I hope she does!

With the 10 or so photos I took, I plan on making a picture book for her this Christmas. And if I travel a…

To my daughter, today is your parent's wedding anniversary

To my daughter,

Today is the fourth anniversary of your Momma and Papa getting married. It's a day we both cherish because it solidified our commitment to build a family of our own together, which lead to us adopting you. 
I know someday you'll ask us what our wedding was like (I still owe your Momma a more fairytale-like wedding than our trip to Toledo), and you will wonder how we met (pub crawls are not necessarily bad things if you keep your wits about you). What I hope you ask me is when I knew your Momma was special. 
I was certainly intrigued the night I met Momma. She had a sharp sense of humor, beautiful eyes, a smile that still captivates me and she made me feel completely at ease. But it was the night after the pub crawl that I knew she was someone extraordinary.
First of all, I felt no hesitation in texting her the next morning, breaking every dating rule that I'd heard from friends the previous few years. We then hopped on the phone that night and spoke for al…

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