The Fun Dad

As a kid, it always baffled me how boring and controlling grownups could be. Why did everything have to be so serious? Do people just get less fun as they got older? Not me, I thought. I’m going to be fun even when I’m all grown up.

Fast forward to the nightly ritual in which I find myself currently mired. I chase my three-year-old around with a toothbrush getting increasingly frustrated as time goes on, so that by the time I’m actually brushing her teeth I have to fight to keep from aggressively attacking her mouth and anything else near it with the toothbrush to the detriment of her health and safety.

A Cheap Introvert’s Guide to Holiday Shopping in the Real World

Being an introvert during the holidays is a veritable hell. Forget the obligatory office parties and family gatherings, I fear most the packed aisles and endless checkout lines. True, I could just buy everything online and hope for the best. (I can’t begin to express my love for Amazon Prime). Sometimes online shopping works, sometimes the “huge” stuffed animal you buy your niece looks like a pencil topper when it arrives (if it arrives at all), and you’re left scrambling for a present on Christmas Eve.

I may loathe crowds (ok, people in general), but I adore my friends and family and take pride in finding thoughtful gifts each year. I’m also really cheap…not in a Here’s a roll of toilet paper, Merry Christmas way, but in a I want to give my loved ones the best presents I can without blowing my budget kind of way. If I know exactly what I want, online shopping is a snap. However, I’m often inspired by things I see in person, which means I have to venture into the world.

I’m not a nice person when I’m rushed or crowded and nothing kills my holiday spirit faster than road raging my way to a strip mall to circle a full parking lot like a vulture. Holiday shopping during the holidays often makes me feel more like a lemming or frantic slug than an elf. So, after years of buying gifts for an extensive and diverse group, I’ve assembled the following Cheap Introvert’s Guide to Holiday Shopping in the Real World:

Learn From Your Kids and Live in the Now

There was a great tragedy in my family the other day. It came suddenly, while I was sitting at the kitchen table and my kids were playing outside. The idyllic quiet of early evening in the country was jarringly broken by my daughter’s hysterical scream.

I jumped up and, heroically abandoning the Facebook post I was working on, ran outside to save the day. But I was too late.

As I followed my son’s finger pointing up high into the darkening azure sky, I saw a faint speck growing smaller and smaller, and I understood my daughter’s pain.

Her balloon, Balloony as she so creatively named it, was making a frenetic escape to the stratosphere.

The Dadding Hour

I’m not going to bother trying to pinpoint an exact 60-minute span that constitutes The Dadding Hour, because it varies from week to week and really refers more to a chunk of time than an actual trip around the clock (you know, like how The Witching Hour might be from 4 to 10), but it…

The Most Important Parenting Advice: Always Have Snacks

Basically, if you’re the parent of a baby or small child, you’re used to strangers passing out unsolicited advice. So here goes: always have snacks ready, be prepared to lose your shit every once in a while, don’t buy any nice furniture, and know that you may never feel like you know what you’re doing. I promise you, most of us feel the same way.