April 18, 2012 by Scott Mayes
Our youngest son got tubes put in his ears last week. This was recommended to us after about five ear infections in six months time.
The more I talked with folks about this, the more I came to realize just how common it was. Our oldest two sons never needed them, so it was new to me.
So, they went in, pierced his eardrums to allow the fluid to drain and, I guess the tubes are in there somewhere. I can’t see them. But, I’m told they’re in there.
The doctors said he had experienced some moderate hearing loss and this would help improve many things – among them his speech and perhaps his balance. And, of course, it would curtail the ear infections.
What a minute? Talk more?
Most people tell us that his vocabulary is strong for a kid 20 months old.
So, is it possible there’s more in there that he wants to say?
The doctor said he was hearing well enough to make out words, but the hearing was muffled.
So, everything probably seems loud to him now.
Most people – friends, doctors, nurses, etc., — said the procedure was harder on the parents that it was on the baby.
They’re probably right. After it was over, he just wanted breakfast.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball dad and changes diapers. He’s hoping the “diapers part” will end someday soon.
I confess. I came across a news release this morning that I’d like to hide from my teenager.
Author Scott Steinberg says “video games can be a hugely positive part of kids’ and adults’ lives, offering pronounced health, learning and career benefits.”
Steinberg, author of “The Modern Parent’s Guide to Kids and Video Games,” goes on to say that “video games promote exercise and physical activity, encourage socialization and leadership, and foster dynamic problem-solving and decision-making skills.”
Well, isn’t that fantastic!
Here’s the problem: My kid (if he were to read this) would interpret this to mean that he should play video games 24 hours a day.
While I will admit there are some positive things (hand-eye coordination is one that comes to mind) about video games, I still think it should be done in moderation. Likewise, kids shouldn’t be staring at a TV screen or a computer monitor all day either.
So, the challenge – at least in my house – continues to be introducing our kids to the “outside world.”
Yes, I know, they don’t play hide-and-seek anymore. They don’t play freeze tag.
So, thank you Mr. Steinberg for letting us know that video games “promote exercise and physical activity.”
I’d prefer to have them go outside and “actually” exercise.
But, that’s my battle to fight, I guess.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth football dad and changes diapers. He had an Atari 2600 as a kid. Didn’t you?
I flew to California last week for my sister’s wedding.
But, I didn’t fly alone.
Our 20-month-old son came with me, which was great fun.
I found the response to this, by many, to be very interesting.
While I was there, many people asked: “Where’s his mother?”
When I said she was back in Washington, the follow-up statements were things like:
“You’re very brave for doing that.”
“I’m so proud of you.”
“My husband would never do that.”
“You came all the way here – just the two of you??”
While I took it in stride, I did tell one of my relatives that “just because I’m not a woman, that doesn’t mean I can’t travel on a plane with my son.”
When I shared these statements with my wife, she had a different take. She flew with Nathan last year when he was six months old.
She was never told she was brave.
I guess people expect the mom to do this and not the dad.
So, I guess being a dad has changed over the years – and that’s perfectly fine with me.
While we were gone, I changed diapers, I fed him spaghetti, of all things, I gave him his medicine twice a day. I woke up with him at 1 a.m. – and 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. – I held him, I laughed with him and I picked up his pacifier about a billion times. The best diaper change of the trip: in that little tiny bathroom on the airplane when we were soaring above the clouds.
And, while all of this might sound like work, it doesn’t make me brave or courageous. It just makes me “dad.”
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and he changes diapers – yes, even THOSE diapers.
I’m thankful for plastic eggs.
You know the ones I’m talking about – the little eggs you can buy at the store and hide during your annual Easter egg hunt.
I’m looking forward to doing exactly that on Easter with our boys.
But hiding Easter eggs (when plastic is not involved) has not always been great fun.
When I was a teenager, and even later as a young adult, my brother and I became pretty darn good at hiding Easter eggs. And these hunts were not for the weak, we really hid them.
The biggest problem is that we didn’t always find them all. Sometimes, even the hiders forgot where they were.
So, inevitably, six months later while pulling weeds or mowing the lawn, we’d find one. And, if it wasn’t plastic, that meant it was a real egg.
That also meant it smelled like a real egg that had been sitting outside for six months. You’ve probably experienced this yourself.
And, for kids, one great upside of the plastic egg is this: chocolate candy inside that plastic egg beats an actual egg every time.
So, with that cautionary tale, you may want to get some plastic eggs this year. Or you may want to chance it.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you when you find (and smell) that egg in late September.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and has a toddler who gets into everything.
March 26, 2012 by Scott Mayes
Here’s a useless fact for you: I scoop French Fries right-handed.
Whew! You’ll sleep better tonight, I’m sure.
Well, the reason that I – a left-hander – do this is because of what I call a lack of left-handed technology.
When I got my first job at the age of 16, I scooped fries at KFC. Back in that time, they only had a handle on the right side of the official KFC fry scooper. That has since changed and there’s a handle on both sides.
I only say this to point out that it’s getting easier in this world to be left-hander because my youngest son might (there’s no official verdict yet) be left-handed.
He seems dominant with that hand, but there’s not enough evidence to make it an absolute yet.
I come from a family with more left-handers than most.
My dad was right-handed and my mom was left-handed. Of us five kids, two are left-handed. So, if you add it up, three of seven in our family are left-handed.
Fast forward to my life as a dad, we’ve been pretty quiet on the left-handed front. I’m left-handed. My wife and my oldest two sons, Matthew and Micah, are all right-handed.
So, maybe it’s time for another left-hander in the group. Heck, maybe he’ll be a pitcher. They make a lot of money, I’m told.
Back when I was a young kid, my dad used to tell me jokingly that I was wrong-handed. He explained that the opposite of right is wrong, so I must be wrong-handed.
I sure felt that way when there was a need for a Large Fry.
But, I’ve moved past that.
Among the traits of left-handers: We are high achievers and we use visual stimulus to process information, according to buzzle.com.
A number of U.S. Presidents have been left-handed. The list includes: James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama.
So, whether Nathan becomes a baseball great or President of the United States, it will be a fun ride. And, thanks to great advances, he’ll be able to scoop fries left-handed if he needs to.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and changes diapers. In case you were wondering, he does, in fact, prefer kicking a soccer ball with his left foot.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be traveling with my 20-month-old on an airplane.
Yes, you know what that means …
All that stuff you hate — going through security, waiting for the plane to takeoff, being squeezed into a small airline seat, turbulence — will be there. But, it will also be unpleasant, if not annoying, for the little guy.
I’ve looked at a handful of websites for tips on the excursion. I think it’s going to be OK, but I could be wrong.
Here is the short list of “must-do” items I’ve come up with so far.
• Have a pacifier, or 12. His chances of sleeping on the plane will increase with a pacifier. And, he’s going to lose one of them (or I will). That’s pretty much a given.
• Have a bag with two essentials — toys and snacks. He’ll need to be entertained while being sandwiched in small spaces.
• Listen for early boarding “for those with small children.” This is a great opportunity to ease his anxiety by boarding with a smaller number of people.
• Bring a stroller. I know this will be valuable in the airports — and they can easily be checked from one destination to the next.
• Change diapers at home or in airports. That seems like a complicated venture while in flight.
— An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and changes diapers. Luckily, the upcoming flight isn’t overseas. That might be just a little too much.
March 20, 2012 by Scott Mayes
It’s really fun to teach kids to clap.
We have a 19-month-old and he loves to clap. As a matter of fact, when he claps, he smiles. Every time.
So, there’s nothing greater than watching that.
Typically, he knows he’s done something right and the action deserves a clap. (As an aside, he’s recently perfected the fist bump, which is a whole different level of fun. So, now, the fist bump is followed by, you guessed it, clapping.)
But, let me tell you when clapping is dangerous.
I have played the drums since the fourth grade. That’s more than 30 years, if you’re counting.
A couple of times a month, I play a drum set at Harvest Community Church in Selah.
So, there I am with my right foot on the bass drum pedal, my left foot ready to manipulate the hi-hat cymbal and both arms engaged in well, you know, drum playing.
The first couple of rows in our church are reserved for kids. And, our music leader encourages clapping along with the music we play.
Most folks clap on 2 and 4. The kids, well, they clap on 1, 2, 3 and 4 – or any other beat they can find.
Some say the drummer (I have never said that!) is the heartbeat of the band, having a substantial effect on the rhythm and tempo of a particular piece.
So, as a drummer, the clapping of 4-year-olds makes me nervous. I’m afraid I’ll lock into the rhythm of little Johnny in the front row – and then, I’ll melt down from there, playing beats all over the universe.
But, make no mistake about it, when it comes to kids and clapping, there is no “wrong clapping.”
It’s not about the drummer. It’s not about the guy on bass guitar. Clapping is about folks connecting with the music.
And if it produces smiles, clapping and an occasional fist bump, it’s OK in my book.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and changes diapers. He loves the loud noise a crash cymbal makes, but he’s not quite sure what that says about him.
March 16, 2012 by Scott Mayes
Many people are thankful around the Thanksgiving season. We sit around the table, with turkey and mashed potatoes and tell everyone what we’re thankful for.
But, you can be thankful in March, too. Really, it’s OK.
I was telling a friend a story the other day from back when I was in my 20s.
I was a year removed from my high school days and I was a manager at a KFC in Fresno, Calif.
I was closing up shop one night and I had let my employee who was working the kitchen head home about 10 minutes prior.
I was there by myself.
I turned on the alarm, headed outside, locked the door to the restaurant and headed out to my car.
It was at this time I saw two guys hurdle a concrete wall that bordered our parking lot. One of them was holding a gun.
“Let’s go back inside,” he said.
I unlocked the door and disarmed the alarm as he held a gun to my head. I wasn’t sure whether I would die that night.
Once the alarm was off, he said, “Let’s go to the safe.”
I headed over to the office, all the while fearing for my life, and opened the safe. As an aside, it’s hard to remember a three-number combination to a safe with a gun inches from your brain.
I opened it and one of the guys (I’m not really sure which one) pulled the cord off the telephone in the office. He tied my hands behind my back with it and told me to get on the floor.
So, there I was, face to the ground on the tile floor. They told me to count to 100.
“Count slow,” the man with the gun said. “If you get up before you count to 100, somebody will be here. They’ll kill you.”
I counted to 100. Then, just to be on the safe side, I counted to 100 again. This is one instance that I was sure I didn’t want to make a mistake. If I counted to 100 and they didn’t think it took long enough … well, I didn’t want to take that chance.
It was something, of course, that I’ll always remember.
I had a lot of nightmares in the weeks ahead, but eventually, I was able to move past it.
Since that night, many things have happened. I got married in 1993 and my wife, Julie, and I have three boys – born in 1995, 2000 and 2010.
All of that could have been erased that night. That’s not lost on me.
I’m thankful I woke up the next morning.
I’ve been married for 18-plus years and our boys are 16, 11 and 1 – and they’re healthy and vibrant young men.
Find something to be thankful for today – yes, even in the middle of March in an economic downturn. It beats a gun to the head every time.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and changes diapers. He’s grateful for the opportunity to be a dad.
March 14, 2012 by Scott Mayes
There are two things that have become very popular in parenting in the past decade.
One of them is the “timeout.” The other, is counting.
When my now 11-year-old was a toddler, I would find myself counting. “I want you in the living room by the count of 3. 1 …2 … 2 and a half … 3.”
Or I would give Micah until the count of 5 to get in the car. Or until the count of 10 to brush his teeth.
I’m not really sure where all this counting came from, but I’m as guilty as the next dad.
But, here’s one thing I learned along the way.
If you’re going to count, count backwards.
Why? Great question.
If you start at 1, little Johnny doesn’t know when he’s in trouble. Are you counting to 3 … or 5 … or 10?
If you count backwards, 1 is always the end of the line.
Count from 5, 10 or 100, it doesn’t really matter, but “1” is always in the same place.
Just thought I’d pass that along.
Gotta go now. My deadline is approaching on a story I need to write. Luckily, my editor isn’t “counting.” But, the clock is.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and changes diapers. He really liked The Count on Sesame Street. That probably explains a few things.
Many of the blog posts I write in this space are fun – at least I think they are.
They are written as I watch the silly things my kids do on a daily basis.
This is not one of those kind of posts.
This post is of a much heavier, more serious nature.
If you’ve been reading the Herald-Republic in recent days, you probably noticed the story of Rodney Conradi, a 21 year-old Riverside Christian School graduate who died from the effects of Ewing’s sarcoma on Saturday.
As a dad of three, I can not begin to imagine what this would be like to watch one of your children die.
I have seen a fair amount of death in my life. My dad died after a heart attack at age 45 (when I was 13), and my mom died of cancer at age 52 (I was 27 then). I also lost my brother to cancer when he was 42.
But, a child. That is not something that I can even begin to explain or think about.
Here’s something posted on Rodney’s facebook page this morning by his dad, Kirk Conradi.
“What matters is Love and what matters is showing the person that you Love, how much you love them, because that’s what people remember.”
It’s been interesting to watch the outpouring of support from the community. But, the grace by which the family – and Kirk Conradi, in particular, have handled this – has been amazing.
I wonder if I would have the composure to welcome a news reporter into the hospital room as my son lives his final days.
I often give tips on how to handle certain things on this blog – how to deal with a crying baby, how to figure out how much time your teen should be spending on the Xbox, etc.
But, on this one, I have nothing.
Parents aren’t supposed to go to the funeral of their children.
I never met Rodney, but I can tell from the reaction in the community that he impacted a lot of people with his story.
Maybe Kirk is exactly right. Maybe love is, in fact, what people remember.
• Scott Mayes is an editor by day and dad to three curious boys, Matthew, Micah and Nathan.
March 9, 2012 by Scott Mayes
I remember when my now 16-year-old son was in fourth grade.
At school, Matthew was learning about smoking and drugs – and the dangers of both.
That week, my brother was coming for a visit.
Gary drove all the way from the Boise, Idaho area to where we were living at the time in Bakersfield, California.
Gary had been a chain smoker for many years.
And, Matthew had a plan.
“I can’t wait until Uncle Gary gets here. I’m going to tell him about smoking.”
And, sure enough – when Uncle Gary arrived, Matthew was ready.
After ringing the doorbell and having the door opened by me, Gary was standing on the concrete slab, waiting for a greeting.
And Matthew, who fit under my arm at the time, jumped right in.
“Hey Uncle Gary, I want to talk to you about smoking.”
Now, clearly, Uncle Gary knew the ills of smoking.
But what Matthew didn’t know is what an addiction is. It’s not as easy as saying, “I think I’ll quit today.”
It can be done, but it is a hard road.
So, as your children learn these kinds of lessons, it’s good to reinforce what they’re learning.
But, it’s also good to teach them manners and how to address people without being judgmental.
Of course, these lessons are age appropriate, but here are a few thoughts:
• Help your kids express their feelings in a positive way. Rather than having them say: “You shouldn’t smoke, it’s a bad habit,” maybe they could say something like: “I love you Uncle Gary and I want you to be around for a long to spend time with us. Did you know that some people die from smoking?” That tells the person receiving the message that they are cared for. And it teaches gentleness to your children.
• Teach them what is OK to say, and what is not. I remember one time when we saw a homeless man and Matthew said (kind of loudly): “That man kind of smells.” That’s when he was really young, but at the same time, it’s a good teaching moment. Rather than simply understanding he’s different than us, it’s a good opportunity to teach your kids about compassion and gratefulness. None of us are above hard times.
• Lastly, use things like the TV to teach them in a non-confrontational way. Have your kids find examples of good and bad communication on television shows and take the opportunity to define differences between the two.
They won’t always get it right, but it’s our job to teach them along the way.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and changes diapers. His kids aren’t perfect yet. Oh, yeah, neither is he.
March 7, 2012 by Scott Mayes
If you’re a parent and the thought of your infant or toddler doing a faceplant or landing on his head doesn’t scare you a little bit, you might need some anxiety in your life to get the heart racing a little bit.
This should give you at least a little cause for alarm.
My wife and I have some of this “alarm” so I’m not sure we need to see our therapist just yet.
So, what in the world is Scott talking about? Well, jumping out of cribs, to be exact.
Last weekend, our 19-month-old was crying (OK, screaming really). Julie opened the door to see that Nathan had one of his legs hanging over the crib rail. Yes, he was plotting his great escape.
Luckily for us, there is one more setting on the crib. There are three height levels for the mattress and he was on the middle setting. So, not 48 hours later, we moved it down to the bottom setting.
This should solve the problem for now.
But, as he grows, there will come another time (I’m sure) that he does this again and we’ll have to consider the next step.
That step, of course, is the “big boy” bed.
Experts recommend that you make this move between 18 months and 3 ½ years of age. Of course, that’s a big window, so you need to make the switch when it makes sense for you and your toddler.
I remember the days well with my older boys. We would put them to bed and since they had new-found mobility, they got up and headed to the living room.
They got to decide whether they were ready for bed. Kind of. What followed was attempt after attempt to get them back to bed.
With our oldest, we had one of those childproof handles. It wasn’t childproof. Matthew pulled it clean off in about 2 seconds flat.
So, I guess you just make the transition from long nights of crying baby to long nights of “hey, get back in bed.”
But at least in the toddler bed, they’re closer to the ground. I’m hopeful that it will keep the bumps and bruises to a minimum.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and changes diapers. After 17 years as a parent, he thinks that crib living might come to and end in his house sometime soon. … just maybe.
March 5, 2012 by Scott Mayes
I love the emotional flexibility of kids.
Sometimes, when we have a bad day, we have a tendency to carry that with us. It’s apparent when you look at certain people – and you see their facial expression – that it’s not going well.
On Saturday, I was struck by how certain 11 year-olds turn the page – and quickly.
My son’s basketball team was playing a tight game against a visiting team from Ellensburg.
The home team scored a bucket to go ahead by a point with about a minute to go.
Fast forward to the closing seconds.
After a turnover, my son, Micah, fouled a shooter on the opposing team.
So, with 3 seconds to play, the kid made two free throws and Ellensburg walked away with the victory.
I watched the kids as they shook hands afterwards. The body language of the Highland kids suggested that they’d just lost a game they could have won.
Three minutes later – after seeing mom and dad – those kids were after nachos, and then they went outside to play soccer on the nearby grass.
If you looked around just 10 minutes after the game, you’d never know they lost. Or that they were tired from a tough contest.
We should all be so lucky.
Next time things are a little rough around the office, the formula is simple. Go find yourself some nachos. And don’t forget to kick the soccer ball around with your friends.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball (and soccer) dad and changes diapers. He thinks nachos and soccer go together just fine.
March 2, 2012 by Scott Mayes
In case you missed it while searching around on facebook and twitter, today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss.
And that means “Read Across America.” Follow this link for a few fun things, including a “Cat in the Hat” door hanger and a participant certificate.
Here’s an additional link that gives you a look at all the Seuss books. As a kid, I was partial to “Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “One Fish, Two Fish” and “Mr. Brown can moo. Can you.”
What were your favorites?
At any rate, let it serve as a reminder to read to your kids today. Or if they’re a little older, let them read to you.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball dad and changes diapers. He also liked the “Cat in the Hat” movie, but thought the Mike Myers version was a much weaker production that the original.
Have you ever thought to yourself – “I wonder who has a birthday on Feb. 29?”
It’s an oddity for sure, celebrating a birthday once every four years when everyone else celebrates annually.
I’m sure as a kid those folks thought it was really an unfair practice.
Well, I know someone with such a birthday. I’m married to her. And, to her credit, she has never “really” complained about the infrequency of her birthday.
And the first gift she got this morning came in the form of the weather.
When we woke up, the ground was white. It actually started snowing before we went to bed, but clearly, it had continued.
There was news of school delays, which meant breakfast with the whole family.
So, mom got to go out to breakfast with her own mother, me and all three of her boys.
It’s not every day that we go out to breakfast as a family, but it was a welcome treat. Eggs, sausage and orange juice – and a two-hour break from school. I think it was a good start to the day.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball dad and changes diapers. In case you’re wondering (I’m sure it keeps you up at night), he went with scrambled eggs, hash browns and sausage.
February 27, 2012 by Scott Mayes
Do you ever look at your kid’s facebook status? I think that most parents do – but, I could be wrong.
But, what about their relationship status? This is one place where privacy goes out the window – not that anyone on facebook is really looking for privacy …
Anyway, I have seen on my own news feed once or twice that “Johnny” has gone from being in a relationship to being single or that “so and so” is engaged – or that “Johnny” and “Julie” have ended their relationship.
The engaged one, that’s something to celebrate.
But most of the others suggest that a relationship failed.
So, every once in a while, maybe it would be a good idea to look at the “info” tab and see what your son or daughter is up to.
If they’ve always been “single” online and that suddenly changes, either they want to appear un-single, or they really are.
Also pay close attention if they become single. They may have a broken heart and a parenting moment – one that isn’t totally invasive – might be coming your way.
At any rate, these are good context clues for mom and dad. As you probably know if you have a teenager, they talk less the older they get – especially boys.
So, use all the tricks and tips you can to stay in the know.
They may not like it now, but they may just thank you someday.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball dad and changes diapers. He also has a fantastic wife of 18 years. His relationship status is set to “married.”
February 24, 2012 by Scott Mayes
My teenager is 16 – and 17 is fast approaching.
So, recent weeks have prompted discussions about job hunting.
My best advice has been this: Once you file an application, follow up — but not every day.
“Call the manager often enough that he knows you’re serious about the job, but not so often that he would become annoyed. He doesn’t want to hire someone who he will pay to pester him every day.”
Matthew nodded his head – he seemed to think what ole’ dad had to say made sense.
The first “real” job I landed was at KFC back in 1988. It was actually called Kentucky Fried Chicken back then.
To date, it was the longest job I’ve held – not really sure what that says about me. But anyhow, I worked there for more than five years. I moved from “biscuit maker” to store manager in about three years.
I learned many things about customer service, working for a demanding boss, working in the same place as my girlfriend – and about safety.
I was held up at gunpoint in 1991. That was a “life flashed before my eyes” moment. That aside, I learned many things along the way that have helped me.
And I hope Matthew learns his fair share too.
Whether you’re a parent of a teen or a teenager, here are some helpful hints:
1) Also drop off your application when the story isn’t busy (non-peak hours). It’s always a good idea to hand in a resume as well.
2) After you drop off an application, follow up with a phone call within a few days. This lets the manager know you are serious about the job.
3) Don’t over- or under-dress. Don’t go in a T-shirt and jeans. But, you don’t need a three-piece suit, either.
4) Stay the right amount of time. If you drop off an application, don’t stay and shop (or loiter) for the next two hours.
5) Always be polite and speak clearly.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball dad and changes diapers. He favors Original Recipe.
February 22, 2012 by Scott Mayes
Here’s to hoping everyone stayed safe during Tuesday night’s wind storm.
It’s a good opportunity to look at how we prepare for such a situation – for next time, of course.
Here are a few things you can do to ease your own mind, and the minds of your little ones:
1) Stay calm. Your kids are expecting you to be the calm in the room. They can and will pick up on your anxiety. So, put on a face that says: “Everything is going to be OK,” even if you’re not sure it will be.
2) Make sure you’re prepared. Have enough food and water, as well as candles, flashlights and batteries on hand. It’s always a good idea to stay stocked up on diapers and wipes as well.
3) Talk about a power outage in advance. Your kids will be most at ease if they know what the plan is. Make sure and talk through what a power outage is and why it happens. It’s also a pretty good idea to keep a flashlight in each bedroom in the house.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball dad and changes diapers. He thinks things run much smoother when there are actual lights on in the home.
February 15, 2012 by Scott Mayes
This post is a hybrid – half parenting, half frugal dad.
It’s a simple concept, really. But be careful of displays in stores that surprise you.
And what I mean by that, is be careful of items that seem out of place. You’ve probably seen them – in the middle of walking aisle around the perimeter of the story there’s a pallet of summer sausauge, or Oreo cookies, or even diapers.
I was looking for diapers for my youngest at Walmart the other day and right in the middle of a main thoroughfare is a sign that reads “$24.96.”
On that pallet were Pampers and Huggies.
A Walmart employee asked me if I needed help and I said, “Where are the rest of your diapers?”
He pointed me to the aisle where they were kept and I found a variety of brands between $14 and $24 a box.
If your little Johnny has to have the absolute best on his bottom, stop off at the “surprise” diapers and away you go.
If you’re like me, and every penny counts, don’t be afraid to look around.
The diapers they put “out there” may well be the ones that drain your wallet the fastest.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball dad and changes diapers. He also buys lots of diapers … but that will end someday.
February 13, 2012 by Scott Mayes
For some reason, I was remembering a conversation from several years ago today.
I was in the kitchen washing the dishes and one of my sons walks in and says: “How come you’re helping mom with the dishes?”
Now, I’m not the smartest guy on the block, but I thought that a teaching moment was staring me in the face.
So, this is for all dads and kids out there:
Doing things around the house that don’t have to do with the garbage, opening a jar or turning a wrench … well, those other things aren’t “mom’s job.”
When you share a home, everyone should be responsible for helping with its upkeep.
When you have kids, their chores may be dependent on how old they are. For example, a 2-year-old won’t typically be expected to mow the lawn or run the dishwasher.
But, everyone can help.
So, there are really two lessons here.
1) Everyone could and should help out. It keeps harmony and is, frankly, fair.
2) Watch what you say. Maybe you’re not “helping mom.” Maybe you’re just doing your fair share.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth basketball dad and changes diapers. He’s readily admits that he prefers washing dishes over doing the laundry.