Air Force base on paper

Our son built an air force base with paper and he was justifiably proud of it. I wanted to capture it in photos before we eventually send it to its final resting place.

Our son created this air force base with paper. He is very proud of it and I decided to document it before it is relegated to the Great Craft Afterlife (aka, the rubbish bin).

I like the dramatic look of the photos. It’s a fun perspective on his craft project. I’m not sure my son will be satisfied with my interpretation, though. He already told me he wants to take photos with his phone too (he has an old Samsung A3 which he uses as an entertainment device at home).

Your kids, when you are in a rush

Few creatures are slower than your kids when you are in a rush. It seems to be a universal law of nature.

It is amazing just how slowly kids move when you are in a rush to go anywhere. It is almost as if they are the Universe’s reminder to slow down and smell the flowers, coffee or something.

I had to laugh when my wife shared this video with me on Facebook the other day. We have a running joke that our daughter is slower than a snail moving backwards, up a hill. This is pretty close.

Image credit: Pixabay (sourced from Unsplash)

A gentle bedtime story from Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner reads a new bedtime classic in a gentle, but firm style that many parents will appreciate. It's a wonderful book for 21st century parents, not prudes.

Jennifer Garner read a gentle bedtime story for kids that almost all parents will love because it speaks our truths at that late hour. This is probably essential reading for the 21st century parent:

Just in case you were wondering (or have been living in a science station in Antarctica for 6 years), the book is very real:

Go the Fuck to Sleep

Image credit: Pexels

The best “hug it out” technique

I heard about the "hug it out" technique a few years ago and thought it was about hugging your hysterical child until s/he finally calms down.

I heard about the “hug it out” technique a few years ago and thought it was about hugging your hysterical child until s/he finally calms down. I tried that a couple times and it didn’t really work. I should have tried this one:

Hug it out technique
The best “hug it out” technique I’ve read about.

One of the things I love about this technique is that is a great way to be honest with your hysterical child about how you feel in the face of his or her tantrum. It is certainly better than losing your temper and you both get the hugs you both need.

You can read a bit more in the post ‘Why “hugging it out during tantrums” works‘.

My wake-up call to play more with our kids

One of my friends gave me a long overdue wake-up call to play more with our kids recently. I was at a local park with our kids, along with my friend and his boys.

One of my friends gave me a long overdue wake-up call to play more with our kids recently. I was at a local park with our kids, along with my friend and his boys. We started playing some sort of Israeli version of “Tag” (at least what I understand the game to be) where one person has to touch one of the others playing the game, who then becomes “it”.

It was fun and it was different to what I usually do at the park with our kids. I tend to see an outing to the park as either an opportunity to crash in the open air and relax or follow our kids around on their bikes teaching them to ride. Running around dodging kids trying to grab me was actually a lot of fun, even though it also reminded me that I’m not as agile as I thought I was (I landed on my butt at least once).

As we were about to leave, my friend said to me:

You should play more often with your kids, they love it. I used to do it all the time with my boys.

At first, I was a bit taken aback. For one thing I didn’t think that I was one of those parents who didn’t play with my kids. Of course I did, didn’t I? When I thought about it I realised that I tend to resist playing with them for some or other reason. Usually it is because my idea of park downtime means emulating the trees rather than running, jumping and swinging with seemingly superhuman energy.

I also started to feel more than a little ashamed that I had failed to realise that my role as a Dad is to play with my kids, not just watch them play by themselves. I can be selfish when it comes to my downtime and this experience gave me an “when I am on my deathbed one day I won’t wish I spent less time playing with my kids and more time sitting on my butt on the sidelines” epiphany.

Our kids loved that I played with them, even if it was only for a short time. They really loved seeing their Dad try dodge them and fall down. It also felt pretty good to be more active (also helpful to keep my Diabetes under control too). I started feeling the need to get over my default laziness and play with them, at the very least to face my usual lethargy with some vigour.

I’m fortunate to have a few friends who are great Dads. They always seem to be so actively involved in their kids’ lives, doing stuff with them and making time for them. I have many moments when I feel like I can do so much better at this Dad thing than I have been. Our kids deserve a Dad who will play more with them and finding the balance in my life to give them what they deserve feels pretty challenging at times.

I remember thinking that marrying Gina in my early 30s was a good age because it meant that when we had kids, I’d still be young enough to keep up with them and play with them. Now, at 40, my body protests a bit more than it used to but I was right. I just have to get off my butt and start doing that.

Image credit: Pexels

Flying saucer versus streetlight

When a flying saucer and a streetlight compete on a quiet night.
Flying saucer versus streetlight
Flying saucer versus streetlight

I started drawing little things for our kids to leave by their beds when I leave for work. I usually leave home before they wake up and they missed seeing me so, after a waking them up to say goodbye for a few days (didn’t really work out – they just woke Gina up way too early), I told them I’d leave notes for them so they’d know I came into their rooms to kiss them goodbye.

I drew this one for our daughter the other night. I couldn’t think of anything inspirational for her and I’d already given her a number of pictures with hearts and stuff. I decided on a slightly different direction which she didn’t comment on so I’m not sure it worked. Still, it was fun.

I drew this on my iPad with the Paper app by FiftyThree.

Whether you should bring children into this world

Now and then I hear a couple discussing whether they want to bring children into this world. The world isn’t becoming safer, quite the opposite, and you can understand a couple’s reluctance to have children in these uncertain times.

Now and then I hear a couple discussing whether they want to bring children into this world. The world isn’t becoming safer, quite the opposite, and you can understand a couple’s reluctance to have children in these uncertain times.

The thought of our children being exposed to the terrible things in this world is scary but our children also bring so much unanticipated light into our world too. I just read “Margaret Mead’s Beautiful Letter of Advice to Her Younger Sister on Starting a Family in an Uncertain World” on Brain Pickings and this piece of advice seems like great advice for couples in this dilemma:

We can’t know, anymore than the parents of the 1890s knew, what the future of twenty-five years from now holds. Which isn’t an argument for your having children, if you don’t want them, and if Bill doesn’t want them… But don’t dramatize too heavily the evil to come, even as a dark cloud against which the present looks so golden. You may stampede yourself into a position on politics which has actually nothing to do with them at all, but is simply an enriching personal device for living more intensely and doing better work.

Be sure to read the full post, though.

Explaining terrorism to children

The New York Times has a video feature about how a French children's newspaper responded to kids' questions about the recent Paris attacks by explaining terrorism to children. You should watch this if you are a parent.

The New York Times has a video feature about how a French children’s newspaper responded to kids’ questions about the recent Paris attacks by explaining terrorism to children. You should watch this if you are a parent:

This is something we deal with more and more here in Israel. Terrorism has become an almost daily occurrence here in recent weeks and months and kids are increasingly aware that there is something going on. There are different ways to respond to kids’ questions and I think this is probably a better one.

“I feel, in a way, like I am destroying the childhood of my children by exposing them to …

“Yeah, but they don’t live on planet Mars …”

Our kids have asked about the terrorist attacks here and we explain it to them as best we can without vilifying all Palestinians (in the context of the attacks in Israel) but, at the same time, they need some understanding of the underlying politics, animosity and dynamics between Israelis (specifically Jews) and radical Palestinians.

It is not easy and I wish we didn’t have to have these conversations with our kids but this is the world we now live in. The world has changed and there is no “Undo”.