Chris Pegula is the actor-turned-father-turned-designer-of-Diaper Dude, the diaper bag company created with dads in mind. More than just a bag, Chris's concept founded a movement and lifestyle born from the idea that fatherhood doesn't have to be complicated or uncool. His latest is From Dude to Dad: The Diaper Dude Guide to Pregnancy, a book offering essentials on pregnancy, birthing, and parenthood . . . from a man's perspective. Here, he shares a dad's guide to raising teens.
Have you ever paid attention to other parents when they are out with their children? I recently overheard a dad comment to his toddler, "Good job, Dolly." Now, his child was a boy. Mind you I'm not judging this dad, I'm simply observing and interested in certain behaviors that occur once we become parents. Would this guy address anyone other than his child as Dolly?
This moment brought me immediately back to my childhood days when my dad used to address me as Chrissy. In front of my friends no less. That went on well into my high school years. Sometimes I catch him saying it to me today. How is it that he came to address me that way? If he didn't have kids would he call someone else by that name who was also named Chris?
Well, this recent "Dolly" moment made me reflect on what I may be saying that otherwise would not be the case if I did not have kids. So behold the top five things I never thought would come out of my mouth before becoming a dad.
- He's a super duper pooper! You read that right. A super duper pooper. There's actually more to that line, but I'll spare you the rest. If you're a parent then you can relate to the notion that you will do whatever it takes to get your kids to take a poop on the potty. Well, this phrase was actually from a song in a video that we used to show our oldest child when he was potty training. As if the phrase wasn't bad enough, I would march around the house singing his praises with this phrase when he would execute the task successfully. I must admit that damn tune was catchy. Now I have it stuck in my head as I write this. I have no use for it now since my kids are teenagers. I definitely need to reprogram my brain. Glad those days are behind me now.
- Whoops-a-daisy First of all, what the hell does whoops-a-daisy mean? I'm not sure where I even heard it first? If you caught me saying it (which became every other phrase out of my mouth for a short time whenever my kids were about to fall) you would most definitely laugh. In fact, I recall saying it out one night while on a date with my wife and our best friends. They were in tears laughing over it. My wife was a trooper while I was going through my whoops-a-daisy phase. It definitely worked better when said by Hugh Grant in Notting Hill. Even though Julia Roberts busted his chops for it, his English accent made it seem way more normal coming out of his mouth than mine.
- Make — as in going #2. The only two people I know who have used this word besides myself are my mom and Barbra Streisand (in the Seth Rogen flick The Guilt Trip). Need I go into more detail?
- You may not wear that outfit out of the house. Having grown up with the influence of such TV shows as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Ties, and The Cosby Show, one theme each show managed to touch on at least once had to do with the daughter's choice of clothing for school or date night. Now, I never thought I'd have to utter the words, "You may not wear that outfit out of the house," but I caved in and actually said them. The reason I'm shocked that these words came out of my mouth is because it just seemed so preachy and nonrealistic on TV. On these shows, the clothing was blatantly inappropriate, and I never imagined my own child would ever cross that line. I am not an overprotective father (this is where my wife chimes in to claim the exact opposite), but my daughter is only 13. I guess I can thank American Apparel for this one. Have you seen how short its shorts are? This would not have happened if my wife had been the one taking her shopping that day. You live and learn. To be fair I have also told my boys "you may not wear that outfit out of the house" too. But that's only because they were wearing something that belonged to me and I didn't want to see it disappear. I thought girls were the only ones to borrow their parent's clothing!
- "Because I said so!" I remember my dad saying this to me as a kid and I hated it. Talk about not feeling heard. I swore I would never say that to my kids when I became a parent. But now being a dad I totally understand how sometimes our children can push us to the point where you want them to just respect the fact that we are adults and they are supposed to listen to our decisions. I love that my children are determined and challenge situations that they feel passionate about. It will certainly serve them in their adult lives. But when it comes to parenting it can seriously push you to the point of no return. I've only said that phrase a few times so far. I hope not to have to use this phrase too often as I value my kids' sense of independence and individualism. Although, as I'm just beginning the teenage years as a parent, I have a feeling this one will be repeated more often than not.
I'm curious to hear from you fellow parents. What are some things you never thought you'd say as a dad or mom? I'm sure I will be adding some of your comments to my list. Oh the joys of parenting!