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Showing posts from 2015

Rediscovering home

A colleague made the observation that people who are from Detroit, if they still live in the area or not, seem to always refer to the city as home in a way she's never experienced in the states.

It was an observation that makes sense to me, and while I wasn't born here, Detroit is home. If we ever leave, and I have no idea why we would, I would be one of those people my colleague was referring to, one that will always call Detroit home. This sometimes crazy, often misunderstood and always underestimated city has a way of working its way into your heart.

After 15 years of living in the city, it is also easy to become stuck in a routine and stop observing the little things that make the city beautiful. This is where The Kid comes in. She doesn't have my baggage and doesn't care about the history. When I remind myself to put down my phone and start watching her experience the city, I become even more impressed with this place.

Monday night was a great example of that. I&…

Finally, someone made a relevant pitch to be mentioned on my blog!

Talk with me for a few minutes and you'll understand how much I love my kid. You'll also realize that I have great respect and appreciation for The Kid's foster family, and that I advocate for people to become foster parents whenever I can. If it weren't for a loving foster family, we wouldn't have The Kid and my life would still have a big hole to fill.

You might not know that I hate getting story pitches for this blog. Normally they are from someone doing a keyword search who sends me the same genaric form email they sent to a hundred other allegedly influential bloggers. Which made the email pitch about using this infographic in my blog different, they took the time to read, referenced a post they liked, and did it without being smarmy.

It helps that the infographic is compelling and shows me there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure kids in the foster care system have access to quality mental health care, opportunity to advance their education, and …

Did she eat a baby? The tale of a conversation with The Kid I'd like to take back

Every so often, I say something to my daughter I wish I could take back. Usually, it's a poorly timed reference to ice cream or some other treat. Another one of those conversations happened last weekend, leaving me to facepalm myself for my own big mouth.

But, this time, it wasn't about a treat. It was about a baby shower. Our conversation went something like this.

Me: Okay kiddo, are you ready to go to a baby shower? 

The Kid: What's that, Papa? 

Me: It's a party for grown ups who are going to have their first baby. Don't worry, no one will have to take a shower at the party. 

TK: (excited) There will be a baby there? 

Me: No. 

TK: Where is the baby?

Me: The baby hasn't been born yet. The shower is before the baby comes.

TK: Where is the baby?

Me: In the mommy's tummy. 

(Insert long pause here, as my daughter ponders what I just said and I start cursing myself for saying something stupid.)

TK: Did she eat a baby?

Me: No. 

TK: How did the baby get inside her tummy?

Lu…

Deciphering the mood of the Buick Verano

For the better part of a year, The Kid will walk by a car and randomly declare that it is either a happy car or a sad car based on it's "face."

I used to chuckle when she started talking about a car's front face being happy and the back face being sad, or vice versa, but she does have a point. The headlights and taillights of many cars look like eyes, and the bumper can kinda resemble a mouth.

Most cars are obvious to me now, after countless hours of tutoring by The Kid. But one vehicle has me stumped. The Buick Verano. Specifically, it's back face. I think it looks pensive. How about you?

My daughter, the line leader

Monday, Gladys and I met with The Kid's preschool teacher for the first time since she was promoted to the preschool room at daycare. A highlight of the meeting was the teacher pointing out that our daughter seems to be a natural leader. She is a kid the others look to for direction, even the older kids, and it is a skill I want to nurture.

The idea of the type of woman I want The Kid to become has been on my mind lately, mostly because of an article I read in the Washington Post about the differences in what qualities men want to see in their wives and their daughters. I am happy to say that I am once again an outlier. The qualities that attracted me to Gladys are the qualities I hope to help The Kid develop.

From the day I met her, I knew Gladys was intelligent; that she would treat me like an equal; that she would stand up to me, or anyone else for that matter, for what she feels strongly about; and was fiercely independent. I want that for The Kid, so I am glad those qualitie…

Splishing and splashing to memories of Ema the Great

I was giving The Kid a bath tonight because the combination of sand and sidewalk chalk was just too much grit for me to take. As is our bath-time routine, I grabbed her, my phone and my Bluetooth Jambox, and headed for her bathroom.

As she was splishing and splashing, I started streaming a classical relaxation channel and something from Johannes Brahms began playing.

I don't know what it was about the song but Ema the Great immediately came to mind. She loved listening to WKAR because they were Lansing's classical music station, and she took great pleasure in listening to the station at a ridiculously loud volume whenever she was home alone. I then chuckled at the memory of taking baths at her house as a kid.  She refused to give us more than an inch of lukewarm water to bathe in, and I could hear her scolding me for being wasteful in the amount of water I used for The Kid's bath.

It's been a year since Ema The Great passed away, and I was happy to have another reason…

Our changing bedtime routine

As The Kid gets older, our bedtime routine has obviously changed. She brushes and flosses her own teeth. She puts on her own pajamas. Since she's potty trained, we don't need to put on nighttime pullups. She picks out her own books, and insists on turning the pages for me. About once a week, she lets me sing my song to her, although she insists that she's getting too big for it.

One thing hasn't changed. I still cuddle her until she falls asleep.  I don't have the heart to be a cry-it-out parent.

This causes some late nights, especially if I have work to do after she goes to bed. But I can't shake the feeling that I still have a lot of work to do to strengthen our bond and our bedtime routine is part of strengthening it. The Kid didn't meet us until she was seven months old, and didn't start living with us until she was nine months old. She had an incredibly loving and supportive foster family, so I am confident that she has known what love feels like…

Is Nellyville squandering a chance to help safeguard our daughters?

On one of the rare days during the holidays that I didn't work on our house, I binge-watched almost the entire first season of Nellyville. Watching someone on screen who is obviously a loving father and uncle was a little jarring against the backdrop of Hot in Herre, but it was still better television than anything else on at the time.

The scene where he took his daughter Nana bowling on a date is one I could see happening in 15 or so years with me and The Kid. Nana asked Nelly if he trusted her, and he said he did but it was the boys he didn't trust. She said the men coming around her were intimidated by her dad, and he was proud of that, saying, "I'm just letting them know, there are consequences and repercussions.

Again, these are things I could see myself saying. And after a few minutes of, "Yeah! Another dad who thinks the way I do," I realized his attitude toward his son and nephew didn't jive with the attitude he had toward Nana.

Maybe scenes wer…

I'm a little more proud of my wife for picking this Christmas gift for The Kid

I am convinced that everyone has points in their life where they overthink things and end up overworking themselves to come up with a solution, when an easier, less painful option was available if they just stopped to pay attention. A case in point is this blog post. I started it an hour ago, and scrapped a version that was hideously wordy while not getting to my point.

Another example is kids toys, specifically Lego toys. The comic strip, Lego Friends from the blog Seasonal Depression hits the idea out of the park. Instead of developing an entirely separate line of Legos just for girls, why not add something simple like Lego ponytails to their existing sets and see what happens? As the illustration went viral (I hate that word for popular online content, in case you were wondering), the author Maritsa Patrinos dropped this gem in an interviewI’m sure LEGO’s heart was in the right place and I’m sure they’ve done tons of research to pick their content. But when I saw the men in this …