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Lessons From My Father, Sort Of

I had a run in with The Boy the other day. The Boy is my nickname for my five-year-old son. Stick with me for a while and you’re going to hear some great stories about The Boy, but for now, all you need to know is that The Boy is very much like his father. Not only is he the spitting image of his father, but he can be stubborn like you wouldn’t believe. He can be the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen, but that only makes his not so-sweet side seem all the more bitter. The other day his mom made a terrific meal (I don’t recall exactly what it was that she made, but I am 99.9% certain it had chicken in it). The Boy likes his chicken plain. He hates sauces, spices, color and flavor on most food. He makes five exceptions: pizza, salsa, fries, chicken nuggets and ketchup. This is going to be a problem for years to come because his mom comes from a long line of dippers. She’s the type that needs a side of sauce for hot wings already soaked to the bone (yes, I am lucky to be married to a woman that does not hide her love of hot wings). After five years of trying to accommodate The Boy’s dining wishes, his mom and I decided to put an end to it and we insisted that he eat the same thing the rest of the family was having for dinner. This caused a great deal of weeping and wailing. My wife, bless her heart, decided to let him off easy, but I refused. I told The Boy that he was not leaving his chair until he ate four bites of the dinner his mom prepared and that if he refused, he would sit there until 7:30 at which time he would go to straight to bed. This was at 6:30. My wife would have defended The Boy, however, her social calendar required her to be somewhere else that evening. So there we were. The two of us. His older sister was outside enjoying the sunshine and his younger sister was distracted in the other room with numerous dolls and blankets. I sat across from The Boy and he stared me down for a solid hour. He took a couple of swigs of water and ate most of his roll but...

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Stupid Husband (His Words, Not Ours)

I shall remain anonymous to protect the innocent (namely my beautiful wife, my wonderful children, dear friends, acquaintances — okay, basically everybody I’ve ever come in contact with).  First and foremost, you must understand that I am a stupid husband and father. There’s no getting around this. Despite this fact, through the miracle of miracles, I married a kind, hilarious, social and beautiful woman. My polar opposite. We have three wonderful children:  a seven-year-old girl, a five-year-old boy and an 18-month old girl. Each of them is a joy to be around and as they grow older, each of them will wonder what he or she did wrong to deserve a father like me. I have a good job, a decent education and I live in suburbia surrounded by families with husbands and fathers not nearly as inept as yours truly. I’m prone to bouts of stupidity. It follows me like my 18-month-old follows her Mom — never more than a foot and a half away and usually holding on tight around her Mom’s neck. My goal in sharing my foibles is to help comfort those of you out there who might be dealing with a husband or father like me. I hope you will take comfort in knowing that there is, in fact, a husband and father out there that has done and will do much dumber things than your husband. People have asked me “When did you know you had a problem?” I suppose I have always known, but the events of the past week have been a revelation for me.  As mentioned above, we live in a wonderful neighborhood. We have a terrific group of friends. There are six couples in the neighborhood that get together on a regular basis, whether it’s dinner with the couples or the women getting together for lunch with kids. Some months ago a few of the husbands decided it would be great to plan a surprise party for the wife of one of our friends. The conversations evolved and eventually the husbands decided on a weekend trip to Las Vegas for the surprise. Sounds great, right? Only problem was that only four of the six husbands were involved in the discussions and the four husbands decided to limit the trip to four couples instead of the usual six. The men justified it saying that traveling with 12 would complicate things and make...

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