Comedian Bill Cosby may have written his hilarious, anecdotal Fatherhood in the ’80s (remember that one?), but somehow we’re still going back to it for a few laughs every now and again. Sure, soap-on-a-rope is more like a dinosaur diorama nowadays (“Honey, it’s adorable!”) but just like him, these modern dads have stopped to pause and reflect on what exactly fatherhood and being a parent truly means to them.
HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING
When my wife went back to work, I used to sit with the baby in the evenings by a window watching construction on Columbus Avenue, hoarding ounces of frozen breast milk and jabbering nonsense until she came home. What were you supposed to do all day with someone who couldn’t even hold his head up? You walked, you shopped for groceries, you moved your car across the street. You read books—because it was something you’d learned to do somewhere, the baby didn’t seem to mind it (the baby minded everything), at least you weren’t jabbering, and if there were actually any residual benefits to be gained, all the better.
It turned out I finally had a couple of other interests to share with my children, but books were the first indication we even belonged to the same species.
−Jay Bushara is the Founder of an online children’s bookstore at onepotato.net.
“Playground!” “Aquarium!” “L train!” “George Washington Bridge!” “Queens!” “Candy store!”
One summer, I had the flexibility to take time off for “adventure days” when my sons were younger. Every morning, the boys would try to guess the day’s agenda. The parameters (with my wife’s blessing): to do something new, eat something new, travel a new way or go to a new place—some days we would conquer all. (And yes, one day, candy store was the right answer.)
We walked across every bridge: Queensboro, Willamsburg, George Washington, Broadway, Brooklyn. We travelled by taxi (road and water), ferry, car, bus, trains and tram. We traversed neighborhoods across the five boroughs and ate foods from around the world. We marveled at animals from different zoos, complained in long lines at tourist spots, discovered amazing playgrounds, and most importantly, sprinklers.
That summer, my boys lived each day as an adventure and found wonder in the world around them. While I had learned a similar lesson in my early 20s— backpacking in different parts of the world—I had unfortunately forgotten it. My sons helped me to rediscover my own sense of adventure.
LIFE LESSONS–ONE RIDE AT A TIME
I’ve always encouraged my children to be vocal and speak out if someone or something is not right.
As it happened, we were visiting relatives in California and the children wanted to go to Disneyland. Four hours into the trip, and with only two rides under our belts, a ride broke down. Because we were next in line, I asked the attendant to give us passes to be first in line when it was fixed.
The attendant stated park policy was to give passes for first in line only if the ride broke down while you were on it. To spend so much time and money at the park and to only have been able to go on two rides was not right.
With my family in tow, I quickly headed for the customer service office. My two kids, six and eight at the time, were a bit worried to see my angered reaction. Upset, they would have been okay to have just left the park, rather than to see me make a scene. But I had to make my point.
As I approached the front office of the park, my family made it clear that I was on my own. I entered the office, explained my situation and after a little bit of persistence, the manager understood what had happened and refunded my money. However, park policy stated that I must be escorted out of the park by their security guards, as to not take advantage of my refund.
So there I was, with my family nervously waiting outside, walking out of the front office with two security guards flanked at my sides.
“See Mom! This is what happens when you speak up. They’re taking Daddy to jail!”
−Dr. Mark Hochberg, DMD of the Manhattan Pediatric Dental Group
To read the full article at New York Family Magazine click here.
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