Ten Miracle Products Parents Will Love

Parenting is a lot like third world prison. It changes a man. I used to stand in awe of “New and Improved” products. Now I wonder if some improvements are actually necessary.

Take the example of high strength or super performance products. Someone may wonder things like, “If streak-free Windex is available why would people even bother with a lesser product?” The parent will know that children run headlong into sliding glass doors and plate glass windows. They actually benefit from visible streaks. Birds aren’t the only clean glass victims.

This bird was really moving.

This bird was really moving.

Can I please have something that sanitizes but smears in a light haze?

Are we shielding our children too much?

An evolutionary purist may point to “natural selection” and a “learning process”. To those people, I present my next example of unnecessary excellence – Instant Bond Super Glue. Basically, a chemical mixture that sets in a flash when exposed to moisture. I can see where this could go wrong with a child. Can you? Ever had a cat’s ass glued shut? Elmer’s glue is sounding pretty superior now huh?


The more I look, the more I notice. Charmin seems to advertise new toilet paper rolls each week that are twice as long and twice as thick.

Mega Rolls?

Mega Rolls?

How is this a good thing? I think my children have a ritual of jamming a new roll of TP in the toilet after each pee while totally avoiding using a single square properly. I wonder to myself if Cavemen dads fussed about how many leaves the Cave-children wasted? I think a fake rubber roll of TP that can be rinsed and placed back on the edge of the tub would be awesome. Real parents know why I said “edge of the tub” and that is because there is a 90% chance that the kids have broken the toilet paper holder.

Guess what wonder product I saw advertised today? Extra strength Sharpies.

*raises hand*

Question: Sharpies are also known as permanent markers, right? This tells me that they are effective as-is. Who was slipping comments in the box that said things like;

“Permanent goes by so fast. Can you make some Forever markers?

Yours truly,
Some Asshole”

My fourth child paints her entire body with chalk, markers, and ink pens whenever she gets the opportunity. Thank you Sharpie, for removing my fear of her suffering pain from a tattoo. Now she can just color herself with a misplaced super-marker and live the rest of her life like a Monarch butterfly hybrid. I feel like I am watching someone drowning when she takes a bath, like the victim is just out of reach and I am screaming unhelpful suggestions; “Keep your head up. Stop drinking the water – it is dirty. You can’t breathe if you are underwater.”

I put my thinking cap on and came up with some miracle products of my own. I know parents everywhere will thank me.


1. Stair-a-chute: Instantly deployable parachute for children who fall off of stairs, chairs, and level ground.
2. Solar powered Toys: Those noise making toys can now push you to the edge of sanity and into a plastic smashing frenzy. No longer can you hide things in the garage until the battery dies.
3. Ultra-bright Kool-Aid: Unimaginably bright colors that also add a little bit of alkalinity to the juice so the cup is extra slippery.
4. Super-tall Three-legged Bar Stools: They look really challenging to climb. They are.
5. Frictionless Pledge Hardwood Floor Polish: Somewhere between magnetic levitation and a greasy cookie sheet, this product defies physics by launching children into the ground faster than gravity can actually accelerate them.
6. Super-lather Body Soap with Convenient Flip Top: Because if a child is going to coat their entire body with soap for fun, they might as well be the cleanest thing on the planet when it is all said and done.
7. Extra-Long Shoe Laces – Children can display their rugged individuality by dragging multi-colored trip wires of death behind them.
8. Mechanical Advantage Scissors – New compound fulcrum, razor sharp edges, and increased pointiness to make sure anything in its path is instantly severed with a minimum of effort or warning.
9. Pin-Free Hand Grenades – For those self-defense moments that call for shrapnel but you don’t have time to fritter away pulling a pin. Just touch and go.
10. Instant Touch-powered Disposable Lighters – The warmth of a finger should be all that is necessary to summon a flame. Now you don’t have to waste all that energy spinning a steel wheel against a flint.

If you work yourself into a frenzy over child safety around common everyday products, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

Feel free to add your own super-products to the list.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Daddy Am I Pretty?

What do you say when one of the girls puts a flower in her hair, leans her head to the side and beams a smile while saying, “Daddy, am I pretty?”

For a moment I think to myself, “What an awful question.” After all, someone only asks questions like that when they have doubts about the answer. I’m sure the questions start innocent enough but someday they will ask it in earnest and they will sincerely not know the answer. On that day I hope they will think for just a minute on what beauty means.

I started exploring this idea with their mother.
Supermom puts on an outfit and asks, “How does this make me look?”
“You would tell me that if I wore a brown paper bag.”
“Because it is true.”
“Ugggh, you are not helping.”
“You aren’t asking a good question. You make things pretty not the other way around.”

I probably spent more time than I should thinking about “pretty” and what makes someone pretty or attractive. But I’m not the first to ponder at length. Leonardo Da Vinci studied beauty by looking at the grotesque. Legend has it that he would find ugly and misshapen people and invite them to supper in exchange for the chance to draw them in detail. He found beauty in proportion and curves. Ugly was created by being out of balance. Most modern studies agree that beauty is perceived when there is symmetry. When eyes line up and noses are even and straight. What about other preferences? Do they affect beauty? Height, weight, skin color, eye color, hair style, personality, interests, attitude.

For me it is becoming a collective idea. There are parts of “pretty” that I can’t exactly describe but I know that my definition is built with the traits from people I love. Children are a great reminder of how that works.

Jane has a love for animals. She currently aspires to be a vet and I see no reason why she shouldn’t. Her love for horses borders insanity and I recognize it from my mother and sister. She has a heart for the underdog and makes friends where others might not try. Those are the friendships that mean something. She has to be recognized as the top performer but has a motherly streak as well. There is a caring and love for life on the move that is definitely beautiful.


Prima is my free spirit child. She doesn’t sit still but instead swirls in currents and waves like a playful river. She looks the most like her mother which in some odd way makes me feel closer to them both. Prima is the closest to showing pure altruism. She is happy when other people are happy and is confident enough with herself to take life on at full steam. Her emotional side is highly developed and I don’t think she meets a stranger. She lives through social interaction with others and can appreciate beauty. I think that is beautiful.


Don Threeto. This spritely blonde gangster is a ball of knees, elbows, and energy. She doesn’t have a low gear. If she is awake, she is running in circles and talking about something. She loves to wrestle and play all day long. For all her rough and tumble behavior she is very affectionate too. Threeto is upbeat and gets excited at a level I wish I could still experience. She is headstrong like several of her relatives before her and that is a beautiful thing.


Lady Bug is the baby of the family and seems like my last chance to enjoy all the nuance of growing up. She smiles a lot while she pushes her wispy bangs out of her eyes and doesn’t say many clear words. Like Jane, Lady Bug enjoys life on the go. If she thinks someone is going somewhere she will find the closest two shoes (doesn’t have to be a matching pair or even hers) and then she stands guard by the front door, determined to not be left. Her favorite thing to do is watch a movie and snuggle in your lap. She has given us highs and lows; from the experience of my wife and I delivering her at home to the panic of dealing with seizures. She smiles so big that her shoulders get involved. That is beautiful.

Beauty is made of the characteristics we learn to appreciate. We learn those characteristics from the people that we love. Our children seek those things out when they look for a partner. The best way to ensure that you are considered beautiful is to accept who you are and know, for someone, you are already pretty.

So when my girls ask me, “Daddy, Am I pretty?” I think of all these things and fight that little lump in my throat. I keep down the anger that the world might convince them otherwise. I want to tell them that they are my baseline. They are the definition and the ruler that I use to measure the rest of the world. My girls are beauty. Asking me is as silly as asking, “Does fire burn?” or “Is water wet?”. My actual response is usually a big hug and a kiss and I tell them, “You couldn’t be not-beautiful if you tried.”

So if you aren’t feeling particularly beautiful just remember that you were born into the world as a ruler and somewhere along the way you have been convinced that you are the thing to be measured. This post is for you. Stop that shit. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

I Know A Mother Who

Instead of a generic Happy Mother’s Day post, I decided to sit and think about all the different mothers that I know. Mothers are some of our most powerful influences and they put up with a lot of crap. I am living proof of that. Below is a list of Mothers I Know.

I know a mother who loves. In spite of harsh words or cold actions from others; she continues to love.

I know a mother who has lost. Deep loss with wounds that won’t heal but she continues to shine for others.

I know a mother who has sacrificed. People who buy houses with deer murals, red shag carpet, and one complete bath for a family of four are not the kind of people I call selfish.

I know a mother who is strong. The kind of strength that inspires some and at times confuses others. The ability to stand up to the odds for family and speak out against wrongs.

I know a mother who is scared. Afraid of not doing the right thing or teaching the best way. Fearful that she will make the wrong choices and totally mess things up. There are no “right” choices and there are laws against most of the “wrong” ones so, To that mom: Rock on, you are doing great!

I know a mother who gives. Love, time, health, money. It is impossible to hold anything close without sharing it with others, you might as well hold love.

I know a mother who never had a child but was just as much a mother for the family tree. She nurtured and protected people who learned from her. People who went on to teach their own children. I think that counts for a lot of mother points.

I know a mother who didn’t have to be a mother but chose to be, before she was probably ready. She figured it out on the fly and is a wonderful mom.

I know a mother who does it alone. She is single and powering through life as a parent.

I know a mother who worries for her children and for other children too. Nothing specific, just a deep seated wish for the happiness and success of others. A desire to protect them from sadness and pain.

I know a mother who faced death. She had cancer and delayed treatment for her baby. She was able to deliver and recover. Can you imagine making that choice? I can’t and until you stare down that barrel yourself, I dare you to even guess how it feels. That child will know what love looks like.

I know a mother who traded reasonable dreams for a less glamorous reality, then worked in that reality to give dreams to others. Many others. I hope she realizes that having an effect like that is something most people only dream of. Life is funny, we get what we ask for but the packaging is often unexpected. (I think we may see a veterinarian out of Jane)

I know a mother who thinks she does not do a good job and I know that thought is a lie. She is beyond amazing. She is showing her children how to be creative, how to try things that scare you, and how to give yourself to make other’s day a little brighter. The world of parenting is hard and exhausting. It really does take a village and for a large part of the village you are their helping hand.

I know a mother who is not a mother yet. She is learning what it means to be mom and is watching others to form her own ideas. She will become what she sees in her world. I know several of these types of moms.

So in a few days we will celebrate Mother’s Day. It is a day to say “Thank You!” but also a good time to say, “Good Job!” and “I Love You!” Remember all the moms you know.

If you are one of these Moms then obviously this post is for you. In the words of Sir Elton John –

You can tell everybody, that this is your song, It may be quite simple but now that it’s done, I hope you don’t mind,…, that I put down in words, how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

Thank you.


My Dad Drinks

I have tried to be good, really I have. My cautionary tales of trying to be careful of what you say and do around children have apparently been in vain. There really is no way to guess what can be misrepresented.

I am responsible for the bedtime ritual of tucking the children into bed and I love it. Not only because it starts off adult time but because at the end of the day I get a few minutes with the girls to wish them well for the night and give hugs and kisses. For about a month now they have asked me for themed hugs at bedtime. Themed just means that I am supposed to act like a different animal and give them hugs like that animal might (an elephant uses big flappy ears and trumpets).

The first night I gave “Turkey” hugs where I would proceed to gobble my way to each one and tickle them. Orangutan hugs and penguin hugs are fun ones too.

It never fails that after hugs one of the girls will think of a question or complaint to keep me around and stall at bedtime. Monday night it was my oldest who had been drinking a juice cup as fast as she could go while I was giving monkey hugs goodnight. She finished the juice cup and gasped for air as I was walking out and she called me back into the room.



“I feel dizzy and like I might be sick.”

“Well… You just sucked the bottom out of a juice cup and probably didn’t breath the whole time so I think dizzy is a reasonable feeling.”

“What do you mean?”

I then made a show out of acting like I was drinking her juice cup very intensely and then gasping for breath and laying in the floor. Exaggerating the point and making all of the girls laugh. Then I gave the cup back and told them goodnight and shut the door.

No big deal there right?

The next Saturday we go to a dinner party with the kiddos to play with our friend’s kiddos and just to hang out and have a good time. Fellow blogger familydoctormom, or MaryAnn and her husband the Professor have a couple of girls that our girls love playing with. Everything was going great. Our gracious hosts had dinner, dessert, and entertaining toys for all the kids to play with while we visited in the kitchen. Then the sugar of the cupcakes began to wear the children down and they start flocking back to the parents. Like little alien ships they return to the mothership and crawl up in our laps.

Prima the Ballerina was sitting on the couch and we were chatting with our friends. She made a comment that “Daddy is funny.”

Familydoctormom replies, “Oh yeah? What does daddy do that is funny?”

She doesn’t miss a beat, “He drinks a lot really fast and then passes out in the floor.”

I protest, “Wait wait let me explain.”

Too late, they are all laughing hysterically. I am a little concerned at how easily the description rolled out of her thoughts. Almost like she had said it before…

“So Prima did you tell anyone else about our game?”

“Oh yes. I tell my friends that my daddy drinks until he can’t breathe and falls in the floor and he is so funny.”

She is laughing and so is everyone else and I have nothing to add at that point.

Once again I expect a call from the school or the government any day. I really have to work on descriptions or context or something with these kids. Next thing you know they will be bringing home gifts from the angel tree at school because the teacher feels sorry for my alcoholic struggles.

If you try to make it fun for your children and they portray you as a fall-down drunk then this story is for you. You’re welcome. Underdaddy to the rescue.