A Dent In My Boat, But She Keeps Me Afloat

Peace at 7:00 a.m. in a kayak on a summer morning. Just me, my daughter, and nature.

My serenity, however, is broken when I arrive home, for when I unload my kayak, I notice a couple small dents on the hull. I’m angry. How could I have let this happen?

“Man, I can’t believe it! Look at these dents.”

My seven-year-old daughter responds in a calm voice. “Daddy, it’s fine. I have a dent in my water bottle and it still works just fine.”

There is wisdom behind her words. Don’t let the imperfections, the nicks, the scratches, the dents, the depressions—whatever you call them—consume you. Things still work just fine.

Beware the Smelly-Cheese Beard

Humans are very good at recognizing the emotion of disgust in a person’s facial expressions.

The other night I saw it in four faces: my wife’s, my daughter’s, my son’s, and my own.

There was a nasty smell in the house. Foul. Disgusting. Gross. Rank. It was bad.

I suffered the stench for two hours. It seemed like it was so close, yet for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out where the putrid smell was coming from.

Finally, it dawned on me. The fetid, rancid, putrid smell was right under my nose. The revolting odour was emanating from my own beard.

Imagine the shame I felt and still feel today. Even Brené cannot help me.

It could have been the corn on the cob or the garlic chicken or the Coors Light or the Staphylococcus hominis. It could have been a combination of them all. But whatever it was, I’m telling you the smelly-cheese beard exists. And if you succumb to it, like Mr. Twit and I have, your wife and kids will never let you live it down.

My Daughter’s Clean Drawing

“What should I draw?” my six-year-old daughter asks.

“Draw a turd,” her younger brother replies.

“Kids, you’re obsessed with pee and poo,” I say. “Why don’t you drawing something clean?”

“Okay, fine.”

So my daughter draws the following: bar soap, hand soap, dish soap, and laundry soap. Very clean, indeed.

A clean picture
My daughter’s clean drawing of different soaps.
Photo by M. Fleming
My son's seven pennies

Cents for the U.S.

My five-year-old son was emptying his piggy bank.

“Dad, I want to give my pennies away.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, I want to give them to the United States.”

I found this very interesting. I wondered why he wanted to donate money to the States.

He said, “They still use pennies.”

 

Daddy Versus the Volcano

“Dad, tell me what should I draw,” my six-year-old daughter says.

“Um, I don’t know. Draw Joe jumping into a volcano.”

“Who’s Joe?”

“He’s from a movie. Joe jumps into a volcano to save an island.”

My daughter puts pen to paper. She quickly finishes her artwork and laughs as she shows me her masterpiece:

Dad volcano
Drawing of daddy jumping into a volcano.
Photo by M. Fleming

“That’s not Joe. That’s me jumping into the volcano!”

“Funny, eh dad?”

Yes, funny. But it makes me think at a deeper level. How would I face an impending death due to brain cloud? Would I discover meaning? Would I jump into a volcano? Would I learn how to live? Would I realize my Meg Ryan is right in front of me? And if I would, if I could, I should be able to now—in the present—without a brain cloud.

My Son Makes Me Cry and My Daughter Makes Me Laugh

We had just finished watching a family movie. All four of us are cuddled on the couch as the credits roll. My 5-year-old son nonchalantly says, “Hey guys, I know which one of us is going to die first,” as he points his finger in my direction.

I’m eating breakfast the next morning when my 6-year-old daughter runs into the kitchen. She says, “Hey dad, I just had a really silly experience.” I ask about her silly experience. She says, “I sneezed and farted at the same time.”

Anger Management Strategy from a 6-Year-Old

Like all parents, I was eating breakfast with my young children and quizzing them in the subject of mathematics.

There was one particularly difficult question that my 5-year-old son was struggling with. My 6-year-old jumped in and gave an answer. My son got angry. He stormed out of the room and started screaming and throwing things.

My daughter said, “Sam, you need to roll that anger into a ball and throw it out the window.”

I asked her where she learned that good strategy. She said her teacher.

I applaud those who have an awareness of their feelings and use calming techniques before they lose their cool. And I especially applaud the primary teachers who teach children these strategies.