Month: February 2015

Make One Move and The Dad Gets It

It was a cold Tuesday morning. The snooze button had been subconsciously hit about three times too many. Morning was upon us and if the girls were going to get to school before lunch, I needed them to move. Our daily morning routine has been boiled down to the essentials. I like to tell myself that it actually teaches the children the life skill of holding a really tight schedule and prioritizing critical steps to reach a goal. No judging. I know that is complete BS.

This particular morning was made worse by the fact we hadn’t done any preparation the night before. Our children wear uniforms to school and the older two wear the same size clothes. On mornings when we are running late having clothes laid out the night before is critical. Two pants and two shirts. Easy enough you would think.

The twist is that our oldest, Jane, is a pants-only kind of girl and Prima loves skirts and dresses. Prima will wear pants but Jane isn’t as flexible. We started the khaki load of laundry the night before and hadn’t moved it to the dryer. Skirts were the only bottoms that we had for them to wear to school. Zero other options and the clock says we have about fifteen minutes to get out of the door. Supermom took the skirt and tossed it to Jane who didn’t even try to catch it and instead let it hit her in the chest and roll to the floor. Her face was twisted in a painful disapproval. Then it started.

Jane lost her ever loving mind. She had a total and complete meltdown in protest. Neighbors probably heard the wailing and thought that I was burning her toys or butchering live kittens in front of my horrified family. The level of panic over wearing a skirt confused me and I thought maybe she had a burst appendix or was suffering hypoxic-hallucinations. These kids exhibit no shame or humility at home so a knee length skirt should be no problem.

This went on for about five minutes with no sign of letting up. There were threats, reasoning, bribes, and ultimatums. Then we pulled out the big guns. Grounding. The concept of taking something they love and denying all access for some hellish period of time. The legal negotiations went as follows:

I started the conversation with reasoning, “You understand that if you don’t wear this skirt to school then I will have to ground you for this kind of behavior.”

“I don’t care!”

“What is the big deal? Wearing a skirt is the worst thing you can think of?”

“I don’t want to wear one EVER!”

“You are not going to be able to go with your sisters to your Grandparents house or ride your horse.”

She starts pleading out loud and I have no idea who she is talking to. “Ohhh, Im soooo confused. I don’t want to wear a skirt? What do I doooo?”

I try to help her out with some encouragement, “Just wear the skirt. You don’t have to be grounded. You have a choice.”

So continues with her rhetorical questions to God, “Why is life soooo hard?!?”

“It isn’t hard. It is a skirt and you even have leggings so it is like pants with giant pleats.”

“If only there was a way to not be grounded. Whyyyyyyyy?”

I am sincerely worried about her logic skills at this point. I gave her the step by step of how to avoid grounding. I have backed myself into a corner. On the one hand she has a deep seated issue with a skirt but I also have given a consequence for the action and I don’t want to back up and encourage this freak-out behavior. Empty threats mean nothing to kids. I decide to deliver the promised punishment and also make provisions to avoid the skirt.

Supermom found a single pair (can you have a single pair?) of pants and Jane was given a house arrest sentence of two weeks. Two weekends of not leaving the house or riding horses. Surely a punishment she would remember and use to make better decisions.

It is now two weeks later and I have to say that grounding is the stupidest idea I have had to-date. What dark and sadistic bastard started this idea? When I describe “Grounding” in the simplest terms it is very obviously a bad idea; Take a kid who is pissing you off and require them to remain directly under your feet for a long period of time. Maximize the awfulness by pointing out all the fun the kid is missing so they work extra hard to piss you off more. Spiraling into a feedback loop of almost hate where you are yelling and smashing furniture. Anyone had that happen?

My God, I’m a genius. Those two weeks were miserable.

I’ll never tell her but grounding is out as a punishment. It is the functional equivalent of telling a child, “If you don’t follow my rules I’m going to kick myself in the groin.” You better hope that kid has a strong empathy instinct.

I give up. Discipline is for someone but not for me. I’m just going to start drinking more heavily in the evenings so the loud noises and crazy ideas might start making sense again. I have to find my bluff with these tyrants. Grounding is not it.

For you parents who have been down this route, This post is for you. You’re Welcome.

-Underdaddy to the Rescue!

Hey Oren, Whats With All This Dust?

George Carlin once said, “The great tragedy is that we have greatly extended life while at the same time we have reduced living.” There is obviously some cynicism in his wit but there is a lot of truth in that statement as well. The idea that we seek out comfort and routine to our own detriment is interesting. The things that we work hard for and consider ourselves sacrificing for become the anchor that slows our ship.My ship is moored at an unsellable dock.

When you consider your life as a slide show what parts do you remember the clearest? So much of our bodies and minds are built around survival and when we are panicked or stressed we do two things; we store fat and we remember.

There are whole eras of my life that I have to assume were easy sailing because I don’t remember a thing. Everything must have been routine and my brain didn’t see fit to hit Record. I know it can record because it collects piles of useless things and every now and then pulls something out to show the world. Just the other day I heard one verse of a song and discovered that seventeen years later, I still know half the songs on the Master P – Ghetto D album. What the hell. My wife asks if I remembered to mail “that letter” and I am lost but rap lyrics from two decades ago – got it. I was fifteen or sixteen and meeting new people, learning how to have a social life, and life had a lot of action. That album along with Sublime, and the Sugar Ray 4:20 album were along for the ride and just part of the memory.

It is crazy to me that people focus on life as this series of milestones towards a goal yet the things we carry with us have nothing to do with why we were there. Sometimes I think I remember everything about college except the classes. Places, people, smells, and sometimes atmosphere comes in and I’m suddenly somewhere else. A smell of black coffee against a Styrofoam cup and I can see the blind man who ran the campus coffee shop. (I notice the irony in that last sentence but figured I would leave it) Sometimes I would give anything to be back in some of those places or times for a day. That’s not how it works though.

The Dali Llama made a statement that sums it up pretty neatly. He was asked, “What about humans do you find most interesting?” His answer was something along the lines of, “That they spend all of their health and youth gaining money only to grow old and spend their money gaining health and youth.”

I have a friend that I have never met. His name is Oren Miller and he started a Facebook page for Dad Bloggers. A community where dads could show up, share, and support. By that I mean “bitch about spouses and kids” to a sympathetic group of people who will nod their head in understanding. I’m mostly kidding but it is a cool group and they all love being a parent. Oren set a good rule for the group too. I think it is a rule we could use in life. A little more crass than the Golden Rule so I’ll call it the Silver Rule, “Don’t be a dick.”

Mr. Miller also has advanced lung cancer and is at the point of not pursuing treatment anymore. I’ve been touched by similar stories via the internet before but this one has something that resonates a little deeper. Sad stories are everywhere. Life is one hundred percent not fair. But Oren decided to smile through the tears and enjoy the world. He put together a group of guys that I enjoy talking with almost daily. I read things that other people go through and feel like I’m not alone. “Hey look! Someone else’s kid shit on their couch too!” That is what I hoped to bring to other parents with my stories and somehow, this man I don’t know, has brought that security to me. Talk about mind blown.

I stay up late, set hard rules, plan the future down to the minute, and constantly feel behind. I have desires like everyone does of creating something cool, or new, or that everyone loves. Yet, I watched from the sidelines as a man made the world a better place for real people. There are people I think were deep in depression and having an outlet to other peer-parents brought them back from suicide. I’ve watched it. There are people who were struggling with doing the right thing as a parent and the feedback and support is there every day. It is a community that Oren helped to craft and it will touch thousands of people for years to come. Deep down we all want to know we did something lasting. We want to know we will be remembered. Why do we avoid meaningful things?

We need better examples of how to make sure a life worth remembering happens. It isn’t by being the first place winner, or holding a world record, or showing someone how right you are. (That is a hard one for me to swallow but true.) To support people and to love people; that is the best way I have found to create something lasting. I’m not sure I have done it but I have seen the template.

The beauty of Oren’s story is that he has created something meaningful and lasting. The tragedy of Oren’s story is that it shouldn’t take “dying” to do it. He already lives in hearts and minds and next year will live in a scholarship for a dad to meet other dads. Sounds strange but there is more support for sexual orientation choices than there Is for being a male parent.

So to Oren… I hope my folded up, wide ruled, notebook paper note means something to you and your family because things you have done have meant a lot to me and mine. If your family need the awesome service of a civil engineer or a wife who bakes miraculous cakes then you call in your favor anytime. Live with love.

David B. (aka Underdaddy)

The Pink Pill – Lady Libido

It think it is pretty safe to say that on average men tend to have a higher desire for physical intimacy than women. It isn’t a hard and fast rule (see what I did there?) but, stereotypes and the drug industry both imply that sex is more important to men than women, on an everyday basis. Brace yourselves. There is a company out there working to change the dynamic.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals has a “pink pill” that is being touted as a potential solution to “low mental libido” in women. Feel free to read the article. Let it soak in for a second and then we can discuss.

While I think that women are entitled to improving their situation I do want to point out a few ways to look at this. On a case by case basis, this drug could be a God-send. Let’s assume this drug is 100% safe and 100% effective. It becomes accepted worldwide as the next best thing and maybe even becomes an Over-The-Counter drug like aspirin. It could be sold in a combo-pack with KY-Jelly and totally revitalize research into synthetic lubricants and second degree burn treatments. Marriages would be more complete and passionate than any time in history.

But I’m not concerned as much with the positive effects. The negatives might prove to be much more world-altering.

What if she WANTED the apple? *Mind Blown*

What if she WANTED the apple? *Mind Blown*

Imagine a world where everyone has the desire levels of men. All progress would cease. People would drop all pretense of civilized life and commence with an orgy in the streets. Clothing sales would plummet. Shanty towns would erupt in warm climates and cities in cold areas would become ghost towns.

Libido-Deserted World

Social structure would change completely as thousands of unsuspecting men would fall victim to date rape drugs and would be lied to just to get them into the bedroom. The roadways would be full of aggressive drivers speeding to their next conquest. The grocery store would look like a scene from Dance Moms. Dancing would be redefined as standing still because all normal standing would involve rhythmic humping motions. There may be a spinoff show called “Standing Still Moms” except they wouldn’t exist anymore. Woodstock would look like a Baptist church revival next to the horny madness of a libido driven world. The effect on birthrate is unknown. If the “pink death pill” interferes with birth control then a population explosion of viral proportions would drive the world to hunger and poverty leading to the downfall of man.

Does anyone remember in elementary school when you played the game “Opposite Day”? Welcome to Opposite World.

Sprout Pharmaceutical will rise to world dominance with a product as widespread as lipstick but with addiction levels near that of Crack or Heroine. If they hold a patent on the secret formula they could challenge OPEC or Walmart or the Illuminati.



History will be re-written. The lid will be off Pandora’s Box and out will pour “Spanish Fly”. Is it irony that the End of Days is heralded by the four horsemen and the top condom sales company is Trojan? Trojan is also associated with the “Trojan Horse”; it appeared to be a gift but was a way to bring down enemies from the inside. A Greek story. A society known for promiscuity and high libido. History repeats itself again? My pseudo-science and loose reasoning points to the definite answer of “maybe”.

I got out of hand a little.

I got out of hand a little.

Now let’s consider reality. The FDA will evaluate and find out that it can’t be approved. This super pill is a false hope just like red wine, backrubs, and Fifty Shades of Grey. Lies that all seem to be working until they give her a headache or make her sleepy. I don’t think such an aphrodisiac exists and if someone says “when men help with housework” I’m going to set an animal shelter on fire. That is BS and you know it.

So if you are into crazy conspiracy theories or stream of consciousness writing, this post is for you. I don’t think it has much to do with parenting but I’m tired of parenting today. The kids are all distracted by technology and junk food at the moment so I apologize for drifting. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Parent-noid – Feeling Your Kids Are Out to Get You

It isn’t paranoia if “they” really are after you.

I know who “they” are. I made them.

They are out to get me.

This week we have been iced in by Winter Storm Octavia. My children have used this time to plot my demise with a variety of attacks. The first was a direct assault with cuteness as the disguise. Don Threeto approached one morning holding a pink tea set.

“Morning daddy, would you like a dwink?”

“Oh thank you! Of course I would. What do you have today?”

“Umm… Juice, Milk, and Chlorine…”

“Was that Chlorine? Like the oxidizing pool sanitizer?”

“Yup, it is yummy.”

“Two things here, 1) Chlorine is a gas in it’s purest form (I think) and 2) Which would you recommend?”


“I think I will have milk but thank you.”

“Okay! Thanks Daddy!”

She skipped away happily but she wasn’t fooling anybody. I knew I had to keep my guard up.

Next was my baby, Lady Bug. The sweet precious soul of the family.

I haven't seen my sister's Valentines Day chocolate. I bet it is delicious though.

I haven’t seen my sister’s Valentines Day chocolate. I bet it is delicious though.

She walks over to the side of the bed and innocently holds out her arms to Supermom to be lifted onto the bed. Awww. Once she is on the bed she grabs and pillow and struggles to get her arms around it and pick it up. So cute. Then she places the pillow over Supermoms face and lies on top of it giggling. She is trying to suffocate her mother under a pillow and laughing. (Note: Smother has the word mother hidden behind the S. S-mother. We should have known.)

Later that day Supermom found her behind the recliner trying to camouflage her body with a non-toxic Crayola marker. A true ninja assassin.

They marker just isn't wide enough for effective face coverage. Let's work on that Crayola.

They marker just isn’t wide enough for effective face coverage. Let’s work on that Crayola.

The next wave of attacks were psychological. It began with a six hour marathon of singing short verses of songs repetitively. Songs like:

The Cat Came Back – A tale of a man who tries to kill a cat but is unsuccessful.

Donkey Ride – “Hey ho, away we go, donkey riding, donkey riding”

If Your Happy and You Know It (Remix) – “If you love me and you know it, punch my eye.” Once again I have no idea where this came from. At least it wasn’t a joke about feces.

After these classics failed to crack my psyche they devolved into just singing everything they thought or said. It was two hours of the world’s worst musical. Something akin to Moulin Rouge performed by five year olds with Tourette’s syndrome. I really don’t know how to express this in words but imagine a tune, any tune and sing the following words to it the best you can, “I like to fly pony who are you cat poop and there was a chicken in a butt.” I think it works best to Ginuwine’s famous song, Pony. Then again, what doesn’t? Am I right?

Try it again, get the Ginuwine groove going in your head. Here comes the chorus.

“I like to…fly pony…who are you…my cat poop…and there was…a chick-en.. in a bu-u-utt.”

What an appropriate album title. It is like he knew.

What an appropriate album title. It is like he knew.

Where was I? Oh yeah, mental torture. The final attack was by Prima. She is my obsessive worrier. She waits until bedtime and then cries about something scaring her. I try to talk through her fears rationally and help her resolve them. No matter how silly. Sometimes my talks come back around to bite me.

Recently she has feared death, bugs, and eating poison berries. Last night she feared something more outrageous.

Earlier that day Prima had gotten mad at Don Threeto and punched her out of frustration. I assume it was warranted but we have a hard rule of no hitting. Jane asked, “Why? What is wrong with hitting?” I thought this was an excellent opportunity to talk about rules in general. “Well…” I began, “Hitting someone is called assault and when you are an adult you can get in big trouble. You know that is why Daddy has a lot of his rules, when you grow up I want you to know right and wrong to help you not get in big trouble.”

“What happens to adults, daddy?”

“They can be sent to jail if they don’t follow the rules.”

“Is jail fun?”

“Oh no it is not somewhere you want to go. You can’t do anything you want or even leave for a long time.”

There was a silence as they pondered the reality of jail. Good job dad.

Then later that night I hear Prima crying. I go to her bedside and ask, “What is wrong honey? Why are you crying?”

“I am afraid I will go to jail! I Don’t Want to go to JAIL!”

“Just don’t hit people.”

“But I want to! I can’t help it! Waaahhh!”

She makes a good point. Now I don’t know how to answer my children. I constantly worry that I will make things worse. I am afraid they want to poison me and they circle me singing mind numbing songs. I almost wonder if I am in a special facility somewhere staring into a fish tank while sitting in a straight-jacket and getting a steady IV of psychotropic drugs.

Memes are fun.

Memes are fun.

If you are trapped by snow in a house with hostile natives, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Unaware of Internet Awareness

Have you seen the photo where a responsible mom or teacher takes a photo requesting people to share so they can teach children that the internet is a wild and dangerous place? Of course you have. About once a week I think. Such a powerful message.

Everyone knows that once a photo hits the internet it becomes this viral monster that is directed to every pervert and otherwise inappropriate person imaginable. Photos are laced with every possible trace of information giving coordinates, birth certificate, blood type, and a list of your fears. In fact, if you have GPS turned on for the Android, it might just post a dating profile on Craig’s list without your permission. Are you paranoid yet? Ok good.

This is a creepy photo. Ii don't like thinking about faceless bubble people poking around my internet.

This is a creepy photo. I don’t like thinking about faceless bubble people poking around my internet.

What can we do about this crazy and ever present danger?

I think the answer may lie within blogging itself. Anyone who has a blog on WordPress or Blogger or even Facebook knows that the idea of some photo or post circling the globe just because you hit POST, is a complete falsehood. At best it is a pipe dream. Bloggers constantly network to peddle their goods. Like me and I like back. Follow this and follow that. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine. I think most of the time it is like selling hymnals at choir practice but I do enjoy the company. There are some really interesting people and talented writers floating around out here but parts of the internet world make me scratch my head.

Some of the most popular posts are instructional posts on how to get more people to read your posts. Maybe we don’t need to be teaching children that simple photos go viral. Maybe that creates unrealistic expectations for actually having an audience in the real world. Also, to tell a teenager at the peak of attention seeking behavior that the internet reaches everyone and it is forever, may not end well. I don’t know the correct answer but I am curious how far one of those types of posts would go.

So in an effort to teach my children about the power of internet and social media, I need you to Reblog or Share and post your Country and nearest City in the Comments. If you have a secret persona just make up some place cool but don’t skip the sharing part. You don’t want my kids to grow up thinking the internet is safe now would you?

So if you hate chain letters or those posts where if you don’t forward to ten people your goldfish will die, this one is for you. This is totally different. Like completely. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.