KC Home Dad

Monday, March 19, 2007

New Children's Museum meeting

On Fri. March 23 KCDADs has been invited to speak our minds (this could be dangerous) about the new Children's Museum being planned by Wonderscope and Beyond The Book. This is an excellent opportunity for us to be a part of the planning stages and help make this a wonderful and educational experience for our children.

I also believe it provides KCDADs an opportunity to grow in the community. And I don't just mean by adding new members. First of all, our involvement could help temper some of the negative stereotypes that are out there about at home dads (ie the Mr. Mom stereotype). Secondly this could be an opportunity for our group to do something that is for a higher purpose. Sure, our group is great at helping one another in this journey of at-home parenting, but is this all that we can do? I believe that we have such a strong, close-nit group that it is time we start working together to help others.

When I first read the story about the new children's museum that is being proposed, I immediately felt this might be the kind of community activity that fits with our values. We'll see on Friday, but I hope KCDADs can be a big part of what they are trying to do.

Look for my report on our meeting next week...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Children's Museum coming to Kansas City

On Saturday, Feb. 24, the Kansas City Star reported on an exciting new Children's Museum that will be built by 2009 probably in Johnson County, KS. This museum will combine Wonderscope (www.wonderscope.org) in Shawnee with Beyond The Book (www.beyondthebook.org) to create an exciting learning experience for children under 10.

As most of you know, Kansas City has several "Children's Museums" (in KCK at the Indian Creek Mall, Science City in Union Station and Paradise Park in Lee's Summit) but none of them are even close to the quality of activities and value as the Omaha Children's Museum or the Magic House in St. Louis. My hope is that, FINALLY, Kansas City will have a great, fun place to take our children.

The public will be invited in March 2007 to offer suggestions on what this new museum should offer, and I think our group should make an effort to attend these sessions. I also think we should consider helping them raise money for the $15 million, 36,500 sq. ft. facility. Keep checking the websites listed above as well as this blog for dates and times of these sessions.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A son is born and his name is...?

Last week my wife blessed me with a son. We didn't know what we were having (yes, we are stuck in 1995) and of course we had no boy names that we liked. Somehow we thought by looking at him we would be able to figure it out - that was no help.

So for nearly 4 hours we combed through one of those naming books that we had both already read through hoping that a name would suddenly stick that hadn't previously. Yeah, that didn't work either.

Finally we narrowed it down to our individual top 3.

No matches.

Then I pulled out my last card - the compromise card. We always agreed on the middle name but disagreed on it's spelling. I said "If we spell his middle name my way, you can give him whatever name you want."

She immediately started to call her mom to tell her our news. Then I said, "Well, maybe not..."

And she said, as nicely as a woman who just had a baby, "Decide already. Whatever you want is fine - just pick something!"

So we went with her choice.

I'm sure you are dying to know the name (so am I - just kidding!) but for security reasons we only use nicknames of our children here.

His nickname came much easier - Buddy. In fact I started calling him Buddy as soon as he was born since I didn't have a real name to call him.

Makes you wonder why we just didn't name him that in the first place.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Achieving Goals

I recently was cleaning my home office and found some old lists of goals I had made right before I became a father. This is something I often do and then forget where the list went. I thought it would be interesting to see how well I have succeeded with my goals, even though I didn't remember what they were until I found them the other day.

1. Be consistent - I feel like I've done a pretty good job at that, sometimes
2. Have one-on-one time with each child - So far, this has been hard to do
3. Strict discipline; develop a system of consequences - I have done this well
4. Always make them clean up their own toys - It's like watching paint dry, but they get it done
5. Make children do chores - The girls clear the table and clean up their rooms
6. No allowances! - This will never work
7. Strictly monitor TV & movies; no cable - This has also been accomplished since I'm too cheap to get cable
8. Read to them often - I could do better at this; bedtime is the only time I read to them now
9. Teach them to respect all people - Always a work-in-progress
10. Limit toys; a wooden spoon and a cardboard box can be just as much fun - Compared to most of their friends...mission accomplished!
11. Take them places - We usually go somewhere everyday, but I think I could do a better job of finding more fun places to go for them (Home Depot is not fun for them, but why?)
12. Go out with my wife at least once a month - Lucky to go out once a year; this needs some work
13. Take care of child by myself - Uh, yeah, got this one handled
14. Always teach them - I need to do more
15. Make sure they have enough to do - Some days are better than others

Overall I'd say I'm doing quite well. I'd give myself a B. How about this list of goals I made before I knew I would be an At Home Dad?

1. Raise own children - Doing that
2. Provide children with more stable home environment - Yep
3. More vacation because working parent doesn't have to take off for Dr. appointments, house repairs, etc. - I feel this works
4. More time for exercise - I'm trying, but there's not as much time available as I had imagined
5. Visit Grandparents once per month - What was I thinking?
6. Community involvement - With KCDADs definitely, but nothing outside of that and that should change
7. Politics - Helping a candidate is a type of community involvement I could do
8. Start a business - What was I smokin'
9. Play all day - Occasionally we do, but mostly we can't; without clean clothes and food we'd be kinda miserable
10. Keep house clean - Yeah, right!

My goals for being a "House Parent" were a little far-fetched perhaps, but overall I don't think I've missed the mark too far. Let's say B-.

Wonder what my next set of goals are. Guess I'll find out in 5 years.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Welcoming New Dads Well

Monday's playgroup was one of the best ever for KCDADs. It was not just the record number of attendees (11 dads, 19 kids) but the way the new guys were welcomed. Everybody introduced themselves to the new guys (Chris and Jason) and almost everyone was able to have a conversation with each of them.

When you’ve had a group for as long as we have (5 years), you have a lot of guys who know each other so well it can be hard for new guys to crack the clique.

Remember high school - you couldn't just sit down at whatever table you wanted to in the lunch room. You had to sit with "your" people. You wanted to sit with "your" people. They got you. They were like you. They knew all the inside jokes. When someone new sat down at "your" table, no one talked to him; what did he know about "your" people?

Every once in awhile a new guy would be admitted into your clique, but it always took him a long time to catch up, to learn all the inside jokes, to be like you.

So, it takes truly special people to go out of their way to make new guys feel welcome. That is what we all did on Monday – and that's what makes KCDADs a very special group of guys. Within just a couple of hours these new guys caught up, learned a few of the inside jokes and were instantly just like the rest of us.

I knew I'd finally get to sit at the "cool" table.

Monday, January 22, 2007


"I said 'NO' I don't want to unload the dishwasher right now," I complained to my wife.

"There's lots of things I say 'NO' to too," she replied.

I unloaded the dishwasher...OUCH!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Well, it finally happened.
My daughter punched me in the baby-maker.

Now, in all fairness to her, I kind of asked for it. One of our favorite things to do is wrestle. I grab her, tickle her and otherwise rough her up. She kicks and slaps and giggles to get away. I always keep a look out for those flailing arms and legs to protect myself, which I have done very well at so far, thank you very much.

But, since I allow her to hit me while we're playing and I always overact my pain, she thinks this is funny.
I'm not laughing anymore.

Yesterday, she closed her fist and struck with all her might at the point on my body that was just the right height of her fist. I was not paying attention this time and I paid dearly for it. I immediately hit the floor, grabbed my crouch and started gasping for air. For some reason a croutch shot also knocks all the air out of your lungs. Scientists should study this.

My Princess (that's our 4 year old daughter) just stared at me smiling thinking I was just doing my usual overacting. Finally she asks, "Are you okay daddy?" "NO!" I barked back, "you don't hit daddy there, okay." "Okay," she replied meekly.

The pain slowly subsided and I sat up wiping the sweat off my brow (again, more scientific study needed). "Sorry daddy," Princess said now clearly realizing she hurt me. "Just don't do that again, alright," I said.

"Alright... can we play tackle now!"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sleeping Beauty

The other night our Princess (that's what we call our 4 year old) came into our room shortly after we put her to bed.

"What is it honey?" my wife asked as she helped Princess into our bed.

"It's not fair," she said with bottom lip protruding, "you get to have someone sleep with you in your bed and I don't."

"But you get to sleep in your special Princess room EVERY night," my wife replied.

"It's so lonely in there," Princess sobbed.

Now my bottom lip is quivering. I scoop her up and carry her back to her room snuggling her into her bed between the 12 stuffed animals, 4 Barbie dolls and 3 pieces of junk mail. I give her a hug and tell her I love her and remind her that angels are always with her so she will never be alone.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pre-Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance

Dads have lots of interesting sayings that can really grab your attention (why don't Moms have them?). My dad is no different. One of his famous sayings is the "7-P's of success - Pre-Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance." He may have heard that somewhere else, but my guess is, that like all his other sayings, he made it up on his own.

"Pre-Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance." Very catchy, and very true, I think. In fact, this is going to be my motto for 2007 - my New Year's Resolution if you will.

You see, after being an at-home dad for 4 years now, I have finally realized that kids are slow. You would think after watching children run all over a store, escape from their parents and their general high energy level, that kids are fast. BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG!

It takes us 10 minutes (10 minutes!!!) to get shoes on, coats on, and car seat buckles on. Add on the time to eat breakfast, fix hair, get dressed and a couple of melt-downs and we're lucky to be out of the house by 10am. We're never on time to school at 8:45 or on time to about any other activity. Ah, but NOW it's time for "Pre-Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance."


If you don't have a plan, you are likely to fail (see above!)

So, we're gonna have a plan in '07. The first step is for me to decide the night before what the plan is for the next day. Then we will decide the clothes we are going to wear the next day before bedtime. I will get up, eat breakfast and read the paper BEFORE the kids are up so I can concentrate on helping them get ready. Finally, I have to remember that everything is going to take A LOT LONGER than I think because somebody might have to go potty for the third time in an hour or somebody's special toy may be missing, etc.

"Pre-Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance." I'm going to see if Dad is right.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Don't tell Santa about the Turkey Vent"

"Don't tell Santa about the Turkey Vent," my 4-year old "Princess" whispered to my 2-year old "Stitch." "Good idea," I added with a very stern eyebrow-raise.

Do you know how closely your kids watch and imitate everything you do? It kind of sneaks up on you. Remember when you didn't have to spell out words to your wife when you were having a conversation. "Should we go o-u-t and have p-o-p-s-c-i-c-l-e-s?" Now you have to watch what you say and do. "Honey, do you want to have sex tonight?" "What's 'sex' daddy?" Oops.

Now, back to the Turkey Vent.

You see, my dad and I took a week-long vacation to visit the Eastern battlefields of the Civil War (Gettysburg and Antietem are must-sees by the way). On our trip my dad taught me about the Turkey Vent. Basically, it's his version of flipping someone off. And the beauty of it is - the person doesn't know he's being flipped off!

To do it (and DON'T DO IT IN FRONT OF YOUR KIDS - SEE BELOW!) just cup your hand with your thumb lightly touching the pad of your index finger and gently tap it back and forth.

Frankly it looks a little gay.

Of course when you add the angry expression on your face, the driver in the car who just cut you off gets the idea that you are none to pleased with his driving. But he is also a bit confused by it too which is good because you never know who in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains has a gun!

Needless to say, I was quite amused by this Turkey Vent. I began telling several of my friends about it. They didn't think it was nearly as funny as I thought it was. But my daughters did. My Princess was watching me demonstrate the Turkey Vent one day and then started doing it herself.

At first I was amused. Then my wife saw her do it.

I was not amused anymore.

Then my Princess added one more level. She says, "Uh-oh." I say, "What is it, honey?" And she says, "Turkey Vent! Turkey Vent!" and starts doing the Turkey Vent. Then Stitch starts doing it and they begin running around the house singing, "Turkey Vent! Turkey Vent!"

I'm in trouble because the more irritated I get the more they do it - duh!

Now I have managed to convince them through threat of life and limb, and no presents from Santa Clause, that they can only do the Turkey Vent around us and Grandpa.

At least they're not running around the neighborhood flipping the bird and singing "F--- You! F--- You!"

When can my child start coming to playgroup?

This has been the pervailing question circulating in the KCDADs group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kcdad/) this week.

Kevin wrote in his email, "don't think just because your daughter is only 8 months that she will not benefit." Kevin's daughter started coming to playgroup when she was 10 weeks old. "She loved to watch what was going on. Play group is as much for you and your sanity as it is for the kids to play with other kids."

Doug wrote, "I have seen improvements in the social skills of all our regular playgroup kids over time -- and at a remarkable rate compared to kids we associate with outside of KCDADS."

Steve added that if your child's naptime happens to be in the middle of playgroup, change it. "My solution (with my child) was to change naptime, playgroup was worth it." Also, at playgroup "you've got 5 - 10 guys every week to talk with ... that have lived through almost anything that you might be going through."

All great advice to help those at home dads who aren't sure when and how to make playgroup work for them and their child. For all of us who attend regularly, playgroup has created long-lasting friendships for us and our kids. Come soon and come often - it will really improve your family!

If you are not a member of KCDADs and live in the Kansas City metro area (or surrounding states), please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kcdad/ or email kcdad-owner@yahoogroups.com.

Monday, December 11, 2006


"If the FBI ever fingerprints her, she'll be guilty of something," my dad said.

You see, my 2-year old has an unbelievable amount of curiosity, and that's putting it nicely. Really, she has to touch E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!!! As I am telling her to stop touching this thing, she is already touching that thing. She's obsessed!

My oldest daughter says, "She destroys everything she touches." Hence my 2-year old's nickname: Stitch.

Friday night we're visiting my parents. My mom has a beautiful home that is for adults. It is a perfect place for Stitch. Mom has all kinds of cute trinkets on coffee tables, end tables, desks...everywhere. And the best (or worst) part is that they are just at Stitch's level. And she obliges by touching E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!!!

"Get out of there!" I holler. "Quit that!" I yell. "Will you stop touching that!" I implore. Too late, she's already touched something else.

Then it happened - she got hurt.

She grabbed a snow globe off an end table that was too heavy for her to lift so it fell and landed right on her big toe, breaking into a hundred pieces. She screamed. At first I thought the glass had cut her, but she wasn't bleeding. She kept screaming. Something must hurt really bad because Stitch is tough and rarely cries more than a minute when she gets hurt.
Then I noticed her big toe. It was black. And it was getting swollen. I grabbed a bag of peas out of the freezer and put it on her toe. She stopped crying in a couple of minutes. Maybe she has learned a lesson here, I thought.
"I should probably take her to the doctor tomorrow morning," I said.

"But she only cried for about 5 minutes. It must not hurt that bad," my dad said.

"Yeah, but she has NEVER cried that long."

So the next morning we went to the doctor and he said her toe wasn't broken. "I can poke a hole in her toe to relieve the swelling, but she won't like it. Besides, with some ibuprofen, it probably won't bother her for long."

I decided not to do the toe poke and, sure enough, the doctor was right, Stitch was back to touching E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G as soon as we got back to my parent's house.

Lesson NOT learned.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Annual Holiday Party - great turnout

Yesterday was the KCDADs annual holiday party hosted by myself and my wife. We had an incredible turnout - 16 families attended with a total of 27 kids. It's a good thing we are so cheap and haven't filled our house with much furniture; we wouldn't have had enough room!

It is just so great to be around such a tight knit group of guys. And, it was a true treat to be able to bring along our better halves and share with them the great bond we guys share at playgroups and Dad's Night Out. Plus, the kids got along so well, we hardly remembered they were there - until they came like a pack of wolves chasing each other through the kitchen.

Everyone commented on how much fun they had socializing and sharing stories. Of course the food, prepared by my wife, was a huge hit. My wife is a whiz at preparing meals for large groups since she comes from a family of 10.
Every year our group continues to grow larger and closer. What a great time to be an at home dad...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Annual Holiday Party

The KCDADs annual holiday party is at our house this year. I went all out with decorations and they were (mostly) up by Thanksgiving!

Usually they aren't up until the weekend before Christmas.

For the first time ever we have lights around the outside of the house. Hope I can get 'em back down before summer.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

2nd Child 1st

I've been reading a book called "How to Succeed and Make Money with Your First Rental House" by Doug Keipper and Sean Lyden (www.firstrentalhouse.com) and they had an amusing quote relating having children to buying your first rental house:

"I was petrified when we brought our first daughter home from the hospital. And the second daughter, well she was a walk in the park - I highly recommend having the second child first - you are much calmer!!!"

It's just about like what my dad told me once, "If I had known how great grandchildren could be, I'd had them first!"

"Do Men Mother?"

Andrea Doucet, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, has just written a new book called "Do Men Mother?" (http://http-server.carleton.ca/~adoucet/) about how the roles of fathers are changing in areas of child care and domestic duties.

The publisher, University of Toronto Press, writes, "Using evidence gathered in a 4-year in-depth qualitative study...Doucet's research examines such key questions as: What leads fathers from earning to caring? How do fathers navigate through the 'maternal worlds' of mothers and infants? Are men mothering or redefining fatherhood?"

I'm excited to read her book because it examines how dads are capable of being primary-care providers and how that is similiar, and different, from mothers. Doucet writes, "In asking the ‘Do men mother?’ question, I indicate where gender similarities are in evidence,
where gender differences ignite ... and where gender is muted and fathers become parents in seemingly ungendered ways."

You can read the first chapter of her book for FREE by going to the website listed above.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Zombie

I walked into my bedroom the other day and saw my 4 year old daughter sitting cross-legged on the floor staring at Dragon Tales on the television. She didn't turn her head to acknowledge me as I sat down behind her to watch with her. Then I got a little freaked out - she had a tear trailing down her face and she was not blinking! I waved my hand in front of her face.


I called her name.

Not even one blink.

I snapped my fingers as my heart started to pound a little harder.

Now her mouth had dropped open and droll was escaping her lips.

"Oh no!" I thought. The Dragon Tales have got her! She is being hypnotized and will be taken over by aliens at any time. Call the FBI, NSA, Bugs Bunny! HELP!

"Huh?" my daughter muttered.

"Hurray!" I thought, "she has defeated those evil aliens and their mind-control device."

And then I noticed that the show was over.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lots of new interest in KCDADs

Last weekend's At Home Dad Convention (www.athomedadconvention.com) has generated a lot of new interest in KCDADs! Since the convention we have had 8 new inquires from at home dads in the KC metro area and we have added one new member. It is very exciting to know that there are so many at home dads out there and it is great that the publicity from the convention has helped them find us.

As a side note, I will be posting a personal story related to my at home dad experiences once a week (usually Sunday...of course I'm already a couple days behind!) as well as regular news and notes as necessary from KCDADs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

KCDADs in the news

Here are the articles from the Convention that appeared in the KC Star. Andy, what a stud to be quoted so eloquently!



Convention news and notes - FINAL THOUGHTS

Here are my final thoughts regarding the 11th Annual At Home Dad Convention. Have your voice heard too at the Forums section of www.athomedadconvention.com:

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES. They were unique to Kansas City which made the trip very exciting to all the visiting Dads. Next year should be even better, especially the BBQ!

LOCATION. Absolutely perfect. Lots to see and do on the Plaza. More to do at Westport which was only a few blocks away. UMKC was only a 5 minute drive from the hotel and the auditorium at UMKC was the perfect set up.

THE MEDIA. When 10% of the participants are media, you know you are doing something unique and interesting that will land you more great sponsors. This will make the convention grow considerably and be even better.

CHARITY. Donating $200 to UMKC Women's Center. That has to be one the classiest things a group of men has ever done. I hope we can do more next year.

CONVENTION PLANNING COMMITTEE. Just having a convention at all was amazing since it was moving from Chicago for the first time in 10 years. The fact that it was the best one ever was outstanding!

BREAK OUT SESSIONS. Some were good (Digital Photography), some were not so good (Kids, Nutrition & Behavior), some were great (Open Forum about our kids), some were not well informed about their audience (Child Safety) and some were better than expected (Depression & Isolation). Overall the breakout sessions were informative and entertaining; worth the money for sure.

501 3C STATUS. It has been needed for awhile and now it appears we are officially a national non-profit organization. Unfortunately, we didn't appear to be acting like one. The ink apparently was still wet on all the legal documents setting up our non-profit status so I am hopeful the details will filter out in the coming months.

SPONSORS. We had incredible sponsors this year, most notably UMKC as host and SOR for the Boulevard Brewery Meet & Greet, but with the aforementioned 501 3C status, even more sponsors will be coming. And with more sponsors comes better educational opportunities and more fun. I think we've earned that!

NEXT YEAR'S LOCATION - KANSAS CITY. Most Dads wanted to move the convention around in following years which I agree with, but having it in KC next year makes the most sense for now. I wouldn't mind it being in KC EVERY YEAR. Sure, I'm biased, but if you were here, you would have to admit a lot of things made KC the best option - from it's central location in the U.S. to the location of the facilities and the realitively low cost. The city chosen for 2008 will have a lot to live up to.

Hope to see more of you at the 12th Annual At Home Dad Convention right here in Kansas City Nov. 2007!