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The Real Money's In Bath Bombs

I'm in the wrong business. I should be making bath bombs. Not that I even know how they're made, but they are so expensive I imagine it involves printer ink and truffles.

I got my daughter some bath bombs for Christmas. They have toys inside of them. It was, of course, a ploy to get her more excited about bathing. (Did I ever imagine at any point in my life I would even consider that phrase? No, I did not.) Some reasons my daughter has given recently for not bathing in no particular order:

I bathed last week.Mermaids (or spies) don't need baths.It's not my birthday yet.My hair hurts.I already took a bath. Which of us hasn't used these same excuses ourselves? 
Bath bombs are a pretty great idea, though. They're like sugary cereal, except instead of turning the milk funny colors, they make the bath water look cool. And whoever thought of putting toys in them? Give that person the crown of the world. 
But we're running out, is the thing. Not that we're usin…

Strangers 2

I wrote last time about how strange women compliment for being a male involved in my daughter’s life. But when they approach me, they’re not always complimentary. There have been several instances where women I didn’t know accosted me or glared at me for seemingly no reason—but I think because I’m male.
The first time I recall this happening was when my daughter was still a baby. We were at an Amish market. She was in her stroller, and an older woman (not dressed as Amish, fyi) came up and snatched the pacifier from her mouth. I didn’t know this woman who glared at me like I was the one who’d just done something crazy. I took the pacifier from her and got my child away immediately. My daughter was very picky about pacifiers, but I wasn’t comfortable using that one again. Luckily, I had a spare.
What was the deal with this woman? Maybe she thought I was ruining RUINING I SAY! my daughter's teeth or ability to pull herself up by her bootstraps with a pacifier. I don't know, b…

The Complements of Strangers

Strangers come up to me when they see me with my daughter—always women—and compliment me:  “You’re such a good dad.” “You’re great with her.”
This sounds like a humblebrag, but it’s not. I mean, friends or family would complement me, but they don’t count. The first time a stranger complemented me, it freaked me out. I wasn’t doing anything special. We were at a restaurant. I had just bribed my daughter with a cookie to get her to eat her broccoli. It seemed a draw, at best.
This sounds like classic imposter syndrome, but it’s actually indicative of a cultural failing on the part of many men. What I eventually realized was that I was being complimented because I was male and taking interest in my child’s life. That’s it. That’s all I had to do. I saw women all the time doing way more, but I didn’t see a lot of men. I’m making a leap, here. I know men who are great fathers, dedicated, present fathers. I’ve known quite a few who weren’t, though. And a man being a good father is notewo…

New Year’s Resolutions

I like lists. I make big lists of things I want to change in my life. Some things are huge, like losing weight, but most are straightforward tasks I can accomplish in a relatively short period of time, like clean out the trunk of my car.
This year, I’m going to do something different. These are my general resolutions of things to try to do more of less every day, distilled down into a handful of maxims. This is no particular order of  importance:
Don’t be a jerk. It makes things awkward.Don’t be a total POS. Try not to do more than one or two things a week that make you want to hide under your bed in shame. Like eating an entire pie in one sitting. (It doesn’t count if you’re standing.) Hey, maybe we can work that up to once a month.Don’t be a slob. Clean up the apartment, man. Not just pick things up, but deep-clean.Help someone other than yourself.Money is not made of fire and therefore does not need to be thrown away immediately.Have fun. This is a hard one.Be a good dad.

I think if…

Sometimes Santa Drives a Volvo

On Christmas Eve, I drove my daughter to her grandparents' house so they could take her to a light display.  I was trying to make the holidays as fun as possible, to get my daughter full of the spirit of Christmas so she'd have a good time. As we were almost to their house--singing about Rudolph--a man dressed as Santa walked out to the road and got into his car. 
"I saw Santa!" my daughter said, her eyes wide.  "Sometimes Santa drives a Volvo," I said. 
* * *
Now, I have concerns about the whole Santa thing. I don't like lying to my daughter, knowing that she will figure it out at some point and either resent me or lose confidence in me, and then feel alienated. Of course, I'm thinking about larger things than Santa. But we'll use Santa as a synecdoche and focus on him. 
It's a question of what Santa really means. Here's this dude who gives kids presents. Okay, cool, but what's the lesson there? My daughter knows that things cost mo…

Jokes in the Car

In the car, E & I make up jokes. They are terrible. The best/worst from today:
Knock knock.
Who's There?
Who.
Who who?
OMG I love owls!
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Conceited Princess.
Conceited Princess, who?
Pfft. Girl, don't act like you don't know me.
My favorite of all time we made up is still:
What does a gangster cat say?
What?
(In an Edward G. Robinson voice): Meow, see, meow.

Back to School

My daughter will be starting the first grade in about a week. She's nervous and excited about a new school, meeting new people. She's very social, so I think she'll be fine. Still, it looms large in her thoughts. I'm proud of her for how well she adapts to change. I'm proud of how hard she works.

Whatever happens, it will be better than when I went to school. When I was her age, I lived in rural Arkansas, where corporal punishment was still in practice. I even wore a dunce hat, once. I don't remember the specifics of that incident, but it was probably because I talked too much. I was very bored in school. I was a creative, intelligent child, and they HATED that. The teacher would ask a question. I'd raise my hand. She wouldn't call on me because I answered all the questions. Half the time, no one else would answer. Repeat for a week, and I'd get bored. Eventually, I'd act up, and they'd paddle me. I got straight A's through junior high a…