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Nurturers and Knuckleheads

Here's to the nurturers and the knuckleheads, each bringing a very important aspect to your child's life.

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I was skimming the website whattoexpect.com a few days ago for some parenting advice, and I came across an interesting article on different parenting styles. The blog regurgitated some chatter from The American Academy of Pediatrics, talking about how dads can be a positive influence on their children’s development: “When kids bond with their dads they feel more secure and curious, and less likely to lose it when they get frustrated.”

I can’t agree more and I’ve certainly noticed this with my kids. Having a more laid back attitude has translated into more laughter and fewer psycho kid meltdowns. That’s what dads are here for—we”re here to break mom’s rules, build pillow forts, have shopping cart races, and ignore the recommended age limits on Nerf guns. Babies love those, right

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Every Friday I try to sneak out of the radio station a little early to pick up my son Reid from school. It’s my little slice of father-son time that I really enjoy since my wife gets this duty the rest of the week. Reid loves it too because it’s the one time of the week he can talk ol” dad into cheating on mom’s healthy lifestyle. Instead of carrot sticks and hummus for lunch, we hit Mickey D’s for milkshakes and Happy Meals! Much to my wife’s chagrin we arrive home with smiles on our faces and trans fats in our systems. “Everything in moderation,” I try to explain, ignoring her soapbox lectures on balanced diets and caloric intakes. At our house, mom knows best—but dad knows how to have fun!

Looking back on my own youth, my mom was always the nurturing and caring one. Quick to help with homework and making sure you had your nightly bath, and she always had tissues and bandages in her purse for boogers and bruises. Dad however, encouraged rough-housing, problem solving and farmer blows. An oddly delicate parental balance every child should embrace.

And then there are the stories…dads tell the best goofy stories! Eye rolls from my wife are a daily occurrence as I summon up the most ridiculous anecdotes just to mess with my kids. I know the tall tales my dad told me helped shape my sense of humor as an adult, and taught me not to take life, and myself, so seriously.

I”ll never forget what my dad told me during the years that I started losing teeth. I was always so worried that I would swallow a tooth as it was becoming loose. I didn’t fear that I would miss out on a couple easy bucks from the Tooth Fairy—I was instead freaked out that I would grow teeth inside me! My dad had told me that if I were to swallow my loose teeth in the middle of the night, I would grow an entire mouth inside my stomach, and that I would be able to chew my food twice! You can imagine the wide-eyed look I must have given him, totally freaked out. Now, I can’t wait to use the same story on my son, fully expecting glares from the missus.

Here’s to the nurturers and the knuckleheads—each bringing a very important aspect to your child’s life—all while wondering if we”re doing this parenting thing right. Have fun, make mistakes, make your kids eat their veggies—and make sure they always chew them with both of their mouths.

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