Spare the rod, spoil the child…hell no!

July 8, 2011

Recently my 85 year old mother visited me and my gang. You see I’m a do-it-again dad. We now have a 9 year old son, and twin daughters aged 7. The difference between her generation and mine with regard to child discipline is apparent.

In our house spanking is a definite no no. Children are treated with respect. Sure there is some yelling and fighting but with five individuals including three young ones, there are bound to be conflicts.

Mother gets taut like a spring just watching my active boy have fun. You can sense the urge to step in and bring him to heel. You can cut the tension. Heck he is just being a kid.

Proudly relates this little story to me whenever she visits,

Seems one time when I was a 6 year old kid back in the 1950’s there was I time when I didn’t come when I was called, too busy playing I guess. She came to get me with a flyswatter. She tells how she flicked my ass with it all the way home and boy did that ever make me listen. The point being the next time I was called I came.

Frankly I find this tale a disgusting example of the child discipline of the 1950’s. Talk about lack of respect for a child.
Much as I love my mother I am beginning to realize why I have so much deep seeded anger within my psyche.

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Never Say Never

April 7, 2008

I learned an invaluable lesson over the years – never say never.

When my first marriage failed and I became single again I said that I would never marry again, ever! This went on for my 14 years of single-again living. I also said that I would never have children again.

Well here I am married again with children again. What happened you’ll say? Well I learned that talking and living by the”never say never” rule severely limits life’s possibilities. Life needs to be lived one day at a time. Most of all happiness needs to me taken wherever it can be found. Take advantage of life’s opportunities as they arise.

When I met the love-of-my life, who happened to be twenty years younger than me, I could easily have said no way, but I would have lost my soulmate and the happiness that goes along with that. I also could have listened to others who judge and told me she is too young for you. It is OK to listen to others, but the only person who can decide what is best for you is you. I am so glad I made my own decision based on what was best for my wife and I.

My younger wife wanted children, I really didn’t think I needed anymore. Again I could have run and lost her. Instead I chose to make her happiness and mine the priority. Many others thought I was crazy. I listened, but in the end made the decision to have children with her. This has resulted in more happiness than I thought possible. If I had decided based on the opinions of others I would be very lonely and unfulfilled in my life today.

The moral to this story is never say never! Always consider all the possibilities and never rule any of them out. Make the final decision based on what will make you and those you care about deeply truly happy. I’m sure glad I did.


Travels with the Gang: Are We There Yet? God I Hope So.

March 21, 2008

cindykids2008.jpg

My Loving and understanding wife with the gang. 

Our family is used to traveling in our Dodge Caravan minivan. There are five of us. Two adults, a 6 year old boy, and twin girls 4 years old. We love to travel, but five persons in the van is getting unmanageable. Road-tripping is Mom and Dad’s favorite thing to do, that is, move from place to place seeing the country. The kids don’t mind staying in one place, but I want to show them various attractions in Canada and the United States. Well we bought a motorhome this year and hope to use it to explore this summer and in the future. This should give the kids more room to play games, watch TV, or read books as we travel. It’s got to be better than our typical travel day in the van.

We get up after a night at the hotel, usually in an uncomfortable bed, and rush downstairs to take advantage of the “continental breakfast” offered by most chains now. To their credit, these are now more than just danishes and toast. Cereal, fruit, waffles, muffins, and even eggs are now provided.

After breakfast I start packing the luggage down to the van, making sure to remember teddy bears and other stuffed friends. This usually takes a couple of trips.

It’s time to head out for the day. Before leaving we make sure the movie players are loaded with the selected entertainment. This is decided after a heated debate amongst the viewers. By this time Dad is ready to head back to the room and let them take off by themselves. However, with a large coffee in hand, provided by a loving wife, I am trying hard to ignore the sounds of open warfare coming from the rear of the van. Thank God for Ritalin!

The next major point of contention is the choice of cuisine for lunch. Which choke and puke should we stop at? Let’s see,McDonalds has terrible food for adults, but does have Kid’s Meals with a toy for the little ones and a play area to tire them out. It takes Mom and Dad all of ten seconds to wheel into McDonalds. We get a table, order the food, and the kids head for the play area. My wife and I actually get to talk to each other one on one for a few minutes. After some downtime we take the kid’s food with us, they don’t eat in the restaurant because they’re too busy playing. They eat in the van. Oh by the way this gourmet meal costs around $30-$40 for the five of us. But hey, the kids burned off some energy and have “food” to eat, Mom and Dad had conversation, but the downside is my stomach now feels like a garburator.

Finally as the day draws to a close, we start looking for a hotel. It has to have a pool and continental breakfast. This way I can take the kids to the pool to tire them out and give Mom a break. Because generally we don’t know where we will end up, reservations have not been made. Luckily finding a room isn’t too hard if we stop a little early. I manage a workout session consisting of unloading the van and manhandling the luggage into the hotel and up the elevator, or sometimes the stairs. I can’t believe that some of these places don’t have an elevator. It’s clear to me that the designer never had to pack the luggage for five people up to his room at the end of a long day.

Next we find a fast food or family restaurant and take the desparados for supper. If you’ve never taken three little ones to a restaurant, you haven’t lived. First we wait for a table, then wait for our order to be taken, then wait for the food to come, and then wait for our bill. All this time the kids are amusing, and I use that term loosely, the patrons and staff with screaming, throwing things, and running wildly from table to table. I’m sure that as soon as we leave the manager calls all the other restaurants in his chain and warns them of our approach. That must be why they always ask where we are headed.

To close out the day the kids get ready for bed and watch TV in the room. Never have I appreciated the power of the boob-tube, than at this time. Finally we all go to sleep ready for another day in the jungle of fast food, paved interstates, and hotel/motel accomodation.

The motorhome just has to be better than this. Come back soon for another episode in travels with the gang.


Do-It-Again Dad – Stupid Things People Say

March 12, 2008

I am soon to be 59 years young. My first marriage failed, but not until I had two wonderful daughters. Then I was single-again for 14 years. During this time I had a blast, but there was always something missing. I had a hole in my heart.

Then I met the love of my life, my true soulmate. It didn’t matter to either of us that she was 20 years younger than me. She had been married before and also needed to find her soulmate.

She had always wanted children and although I didn’t feel that need, I loved her deeply and her happiness was the most important thing to me. We now have a six-year old son, and four-year old twin daughters. I can’t imagine my life without these new little ones. Unfortunately, many well-intentioned people like to toss out offhanded remarks. Now I’m sure these are not intended to be cruel, but they do grate on us. Here are some things that others, who have absolutely no concept of my life situation, like to say,

Comment: You just did this to stay young?
Answer: NO I did not, and what is it to you anyway.

Comment: Oh yeah you robbed the cradle with your young wife.
Answer: No I didn’t go looking for a younger woman. The point is we got married because in this life you only get so many chances at love and when you find happiness you grab it. By the way don’t ever let my wife hear you say this.

Comment: Sure glad it’s you and not me with three young kids at your age.
Answer: You know you’re right – I’m glad its me and not you too.
(My wife and I consider this to be the stupidest comment we get.)

Comment: How do you manage at your age? It will lead you to an early grave.
Answer: So what, I have more love in my life now that I’ve ever had before.

Cindy, my wife, is beautiful in every way and my true partner in this life. My children from my previous marriage and the little ones I have now bring me joy and love. The best legacy a person can leave behind is his or her children.

Cindy if you are reading this, I love you with all my heart and all my soul. Forever and always.


Adventures in Twin-Land

March 4, 2008

claire_fpower4.jpgLast week my twin daughters, Claire and Olivia, turned 4 years of age. So far I have not only survived, but become a better person. They were born and grew into amazing little people right before my eyes. Each has developed a distinct personality. Claire (Left) is the rough and tumble one, and is a total Barney freak. Olivia on the other hand, loves Dora and anything to do with princesses.

Courtesy of my sister-in-law, who was babysitting them at the time, here’s a funny story about the twins. I had been reading them the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf for several nights before this occurred.

Olivia was outside the front screen door trying to get back inside. Claire was holding the door shut. Olivia was shouting, “Claire Claire let me in”. Claire replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin”. Talk about taking a story to heart.

olivia4.jpgOlivia (Right) is mom’s girl, except when she isn’t around. Claire on the other hand had been dad’s girl from the start. It just worked out that way.

When they arrive home in the evening off the bus from preschool, the first thing Claire has to do is change into a T-shirt and pajama bottoms, preferably ones with a Barney theme. Olivia strips off all her clothes, except for her panties and then she is comfortable. Finally, they demand to be served chocolate milk. They then hit the couch for some TV. Relaxation techiniques – they have that down pat.

damian.jpgBig brother, Damian, who is now 6 years old, is the boss of the house for now, but momentum is swinging. He’s been able to control things so far, but now the sisters are almost as tall as he, and are starting to push back. Damian will be in for a shock in another year. Two against one won’t be something he’ll enjoy. I chuckle thinking about it, because, really, he has no concept of what awaits him.

Photos: Cindy Davis (Mom)


Replay: One Do-It-Again Dad’s Story

November 27, 2007

fatherhood.jpgAt age fifty, divorced and single-again for 14 years I met the love of my life. She was twenty years younger than me and had also been married before. She had not had children as yet. She told me she wanted children, but I really didn’t feel I needed more children. I made the decision  not to let her get away and if happiness between us involved children, then I would take the plunge.

Today I am 58 and we have been happily married for over seven years now. We have three wonderful children, a 6 year old son and twin 3 year old daughters. I have two children by my previous marriage who I love dearly, but I can’t imagine life without my new family.

The most common question I get asked as an older father is: “Are you more patient now than when you had children the first time?” The answer is definitely yes. Sure there are still times when they try your patience, but overall I find that I seem to be able to handle it better providing I make time for myself and that my wife and I ensure we have lots of one-on-one time with each other. I don’t care how much you love your kids, husband and wife have to keep their marriage strong using the friendship and intimacy that attracted you to each other in the first place. Keep the passion. After all if our relationship is strong, then the family will be strong.

One comment that I get really annoys me. So many people when they hear about my personal situation immediately say, “better you than me!”  Well I say to them, “better me than you too”. My life is filled with love. What is more important than that? Nothing!

Two of the most important lessons I have learned and am thankful for are:

1. Support from extended family, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews is a key element to making my family and our marriage work.

The first time I was married and had children we had no family support at all. We lived where all our relatives were far away and friends are just not the same. The ability to leave the kids with family and get away for a date night is to me just fantastic. When I take my wife out for the evening it always reminds me what a sexy and interesting woman I married and how lucky I am. Sometimes with all the parenting this gets obscured because you get so wrapped up in the kids and their problems. God knows I love the kids, but I love being with my wife for those special times together. My children are better off for those times.

2. If you have problems get help. I have always been the type of person who hates admitting problems and sure wouldn’t seek professional help. Well, I had an anger problem and am by nature a high strung person. With the support of my wife I sought professional counselling. It was the best thing I ever did. That along with medication for my hyperactivity (diagnosed adult ADHD) have made my parenting and marriage function to its best.

The challenge for me is to look after myself and try to give my wife and children as many more years as possible. Fortunately the odds are pretty good. I have good genes age-wise, and don’t smoke or drink. Eating right and exercising can be tough, but I try.

Life is good. I intend to be around for a very long time yet to enjoy it. The lesson is that you take happiness wherever and whenever you find it.

Thanks to my loving wife for making me a better person.


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