Welcome to Daddy-Daughter Dates

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Thanks for dropping by the Daddy Daughter Dates blog.  This blog will be devoted 100% to the critical relationship between a daughter and her father.

Check the tabs above for more information on Daddy-Daughter Dates. The rest of the tabs are for when you want to get more involved with Daddy Daughter Dates, which I hope you do.

The goal is simple: have deep and healthy relationships with our daughters and have fun doing it. Thanks for dropping by and thanks for being a dad.

- Scott -

Are you on the road?

I recently took a 2 month stint commuting across states, which I’ll further write about, but I wanted to find out about “Road Dads”.  You know who you are…the dad that is constantly on an airplane, hotel room, or driving just to bring home the bacon.

People train runs out of St-Stubbville.

Are you a road dad?  Then tell me:

I know how I kept in contact with my girls, but how about you?

I’ll be using your responses on my upcoming blog post.  If you’ve got an awesome tip or idea, shoot it to me or add it in the comments.  Thanks for contributing, and thanks for being a dad….even on the road….

-Scott-

A New Years event

I’ve written before about dads and daughters sharing birthday, which I think is pretty cool.  I think we share so many things with our daughters that every single one of them is special, really.  But it’s pretty cool when you share a birthday, come on.  It’s even cooler if it falls on a specific day, like New Years?

Where she got the hat, I don’t know…

So this papa and his little princess are never going to have a normal New Years party, that’s for sure.  If it wasn’t already awkward having to have a cake next to the champagne or having to sing Happy Birthday after Alde Lang Syne, now you have to do it twice.  And just think about getting invited to their New Year’s party.  Bring a noise maker and a present, I guess.  All those people kissing just on account of these two?  Where does it end?

THAT! THAT IS WHERE IT STOPS!

Regardless, I think it’s special.  Not only does this dad and daughter have a story that tops everyone else at the New Year’s party, outside an astronaut, but they’ll treasure that for years.  Every ball drop is like a countdown to their special bond; that one thing that no one can take away from them.  Sure, they may live miles apart at some time, be on other sides of the ocean, or be too old to eat that slice of cake together, but they’ll always share that moment.

Do you have a moment like that with your daughter?  Maybe it’s that first walk outside when the weather is above 60 degrees?  Maybe it’s that traditional eggnog while decorating a tree?  Maybe it’s a daddy-daughter date (shameless plug).  What is it for YOU and YOUR daughter?

Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad…

-Scott-

My favorite daddy-daughter story from this Christmas

Well, I can honestly say that Christmas came and went like a whirlwind this year, but that’s due to a whole bunch of craziness in my household with my three girls.  Given a bunch of extraneous circumstances, I did NOT get them everything on their list or everything under the sun.  I don’t think I was necessarily planning on getting them everything, but I was hoping to at least have that feeling that I know one of the presents they open is going to bring that smiling, squealing, “I love you so much, DADDY!” response.  So I had to go looking for an example of a dad that really brought it home for his girls.

My buddy Steve is a good guy.  He’s one of those guys that you realize after five minutes of talking to him why he’s at that VP level.  Steve has an ever present set of ideas, critical business acumen, and tenacity for professional partnerships.  In his personal life, he commands a household with two girls.  Even at the ages of 3 and 6, Steve knows that he’s got his work cut out for him.  The latest example comes from his Christmas.

What’s the single most iconic gift you can think of that a little girl asks for Christmas?  A pony.  Okay, you’re right there, I guess.  What’s the SECOND most iconic request?  A puppy.  Yes, a puppy.  The thing that seems so damn cute at the time, but eventually becomes a dog and a huge responsibility.  Man’s best friend.   The ultimate Christmas gift.

Well, almost as ultimate as a puppy in a Snuggie

And Steve bought one.  Now, he’s been a dog owner before, many moons ago, with a Doberman.  This time, no Doberman.  This time, Steve did the extremely responsible and altruistic, going to PAWS to adopt a dog.  (Look up PAWS if you’re curious on it, basically a no-kill shelter)  So he’s already winning on the “nice guy” award.  Then remember that he’s delivering this puppy from a no-kill shelter to two young daughters.  In terms of knocking it out of the park, every day he’s hustling.

So, super-dad delivers the puppy on Christmas morning.  The effect is magical.  His daughter’s will never forget it as long as they live.  Then comes down to the name.  What to name such a special animal?  The girls begin to argue; Steve makes a call.  His name is solid, basic, and a good name for a dog.  The kids?  Well, influenced by none other Disney (like most young girls), they select Max.  Short for Maximus.  The horse from Tangled.  Less solid, less basic, but still a good name for a dog.  So, what did it come out as?

bob

You gotta hand it to Steve.  And I have to hand it to every dad that went out his way to deliver that magical moment this Christmas.  We don’t get too many opportunities in the little time we have with them.  We do, however, then get a good 17 years of taking care of that damn dog.  Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-

What I learned from Brave – Part 1

So I saw the extremely popular Brave this last weekend, giving in to the Disney franchise, AGAIN. This time, it got me (and my girls) bad with the messages that I should be taking back as a dad. Aside from the dad being a physically large man, he and I have a lot in common. Mostly? Being a dad to a red-headed daughter. But I also learned what NOT to do with in that relationship with my daughter. That’s what we’ll cover in Part 1 today **Mini Spoiler alert**
What the dad from Brave taught me NOT to do
#1 – Be an idiot
Quite honestly, the dad echoes the popular media’s view of dads/men. He’s somewhat of a bumbling, fighting, goon. He doesn’t really interact with his daughter, as that’s more of his wife’s job. It’s obvious that dad is sort of in his own world and defers to his bride on issues with their daughter (of which there are many).
As the movie plays out, the wife is the wise one. She’s calm, thinks about her actions, and carefully chooses her words. The husband is seen as the goofy brute, not really with a mind, but just muscles. With that, all the characters view him in that same light.
A dad like that wouldn’t be approached by his daughter for advice. He wouldn’t be consulted or given a chance to be an ear for her during a time of need. But you reap what you sow, if you don’t show control and act like a moron, people will treat you like a moron. Then your daughter will seek out a moron for a mate. That’s not who you want to go fishing with.

Looks like the first time he’s seen a book.

#2 – Mince words
Along with that stupidity comes the inability to convey a simple message. There are multiple times where the dad is charged with speaking, but with a few pregnant pauses, in jumps the wife. Not just with the daughter, mind you, but with other dudes. That’s just not owning up to responsibility.
I mean, seriously, if you can’t talk to your daughter, you’re going to want to figure out how. I don’t know if they plan on making a Brave 2 or not, but I’m pretty sure that focus of that movie, if it did exist, wouldn’t be how that Merida owes it all to dad. Just being able to speak with her is step #1. But that can be a big hurdle for some dads.
Anybody reading this ever been cut off by their significant other? Yeah, it sucks, but it’s half you and half them. If it’s a common occurance, and you want it to change, you have to start speaking up. About boys, drugs, sex, life. Don’t just let everyone else speak for you. If they do that, she has no reason to listen to you as a source of wisdom. Or advice. Or authority. So speak up, man!

He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer

#3 – Be selfish- go after your own goals alone
So most of the movie, the dad is after something. I’ll just throw this one spoiler: Bruce Willis is dead at the end of Sixth Sense. I didn’t say which spoiler, fyi.
So the dad is after something. Because of that, he’s oblivious to what’s going on around him (which a large part of the plot depends on, but stay with me). Since he’s oblivious, the daughter avoids him rather than consults him. He doesn’t understand her and doesn’t care much about her problems. He’s after something and that’s all that matters in his life.
Look, we’re men and we’re told to conquer, to go after our dreams, to look out for number one. So we do it. Then we turn in to work-a-holics, or barely make 3 of our kids 20 games, or care more about poker night than eating dinner as a family. Yes, you have goals. You have dreams. But you can find that balance. You can put your family as a priority and still work on your dreams. Yes, it means you have to be unselfish and sacrifice a bit. But isn’t she worth it?
You might already be sacrificing for them right now. Working a difficult job? Bucking cultural influence and being a stay at home dad? Stopped drinking because your teenagers don’t need that influence? Those are all real examples of dads I know. That’s the way to do it. They’re not just thinking of themselves or doing it out of obligation, they’re doing it out of love and responsibility. The responsibility to provide…and not just money. Providing time. Love. Wisdom. Care. You have to actually BE PRESENT to provide those.

Let’s play another round!

That’s how to be an unselfish dad.
Those are all things I want to avoid. And not just avoid, but check myself to see if I’m doing these things, then do my best to improve. Stop back for Part 2 where I talk through the things I need to make sure I AM doing.
Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad…
-Scott-

Daddy-Daughter Word Search

Your daughter is a puzzle.  That much, you’ve figured out.  One second she’s happy and giggly, the next she’s upset how her shirt feels on her waist.  You buy toy after toy only to have her play with the box.  And if you could even keep count of the number of rocks she’s brought in to the house, you could tile your back patio.  Your daughter is a puzzle.

Don’t ask

Why not take that to a literal form?  She’s a puzzle, but she’s unique.  She’s quite like you…and her mom.  She exhibits so many qualities that you just don’t see in other kids.  She finds the extraordinary in the ordinary.  She finds laughter in the most unexpected of places.  Those are a few to start with.  Make a word search out of it.

The people over at Discovery have a really slick program that will let you customize a word search using whatever terms you want and make it whatever size you want.  If you want to communicate how you feel about your daughter in a fun and interactive way, congrats, you found it.  Check it out.

When you make her word search, think of those singular words that describe your daughter.  There could be hundreds and that’s okay, or there could be just a few (also okay).  Pick words that communicate those things YOU see in her.  How about words that give her a sense of who she WILL be?  Don’t just put “brown eyes” or “plays”, dig deep.  Here’s a list that probably fits everyone’s daughter:

fun

beautiful

inquisitive

horses

ballet

biologist

laughter

loved

mature

sister

friend

daughter

But it’s also a puzzle, so there is still some brain work being done here.  It’s a win-win, really.  You communicate a message that builds her self-esteem, she confirms that message by completing the word search.  Every word she finds gets locked in to her brain as “That’s what my dad thinks of me”.  Those messages are so key as she grows and the world tells her different.  Be louder than the world.

Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-

p.s. – Here’s a word search I made for my readers…

Daddy-Daughter Date

B O C Y T E S U N R I S E V D L M S B D 
J H V U U C I O U K B W T D A B H M H Q 
V J D Y Q T W K N R Q S C X D O O Z Z C 
N L X W A Z P H R O M Y X G D Y K B T W 
L T X H Z A L Y P N G P N G Y O H B C K 
Z U V S T S S E Q R Y I H D P G N I Q N 
P E M A G D R A O B T E T A D J W X Y K 
L I R B B A C T S A M X L S P Q E U R V 
O Q V O H I N J K H B N E R V U Y B E B 
D A V Z A T N S D T F R M Q C P I S C E 
P W O Q Q R T F Z U Z T Z I B Q Y V O M 
R F V D C B E G K V L P G C N Y O G R C 
P W V G R D X T E P A Z R J P B I Y G R 
S Z R U S C W N H C S D E S G H U B S M 
O S B Y W D B M V G I M N R T X A D M O 
R G B M G Y A P I R U H T Y O E K L H P 
M V M P F W X Q H D R A T V H I N S K G 
R I V J D Q Z B E S R L D V M G L N Z V 
Y A G D X T Q T C K D Y T G T B U A I Q 
X Y R P K N A U M V U P D X V Z W E R S 

BOARDGAME
DADDY
DATE
DAUGHTER
GROCERY
ICE
OPERA
SKATING
SUNRISE
TENNIS

Daddy-Daughter Date #16 – Play Tennis

Time: 15 min – 1 hr

Cost: Cost of equipment ($10 – $50)

Recurrence: Whenever

Age: 3 – 80

Impact: =}

Let’s say you don’t have a super athletic daughter or you yourself are not coordinated in any way.  Tennis is a good entry for you then.  All you need are two rackets and a little fuzzy ball.  Dependent on age, you might only need one racket, as you’ll very likely be pitching to her.  And by pitch, hopefully you understand you’ll be bouncing the ball her way.  The nice part about tennis is that when they’re little, it can just be about teaching them to make contact with the ball.  When they get older, it can turn in to a real tennis match.

She’s about to crush you

There should be some tennis courts you can use in your local community.  A majority of them are maintained by the public works departments or area schools.  Those are very often wide open for use and free.  If you belong to a gym, there may be courts for rental.  Either way, you’ll want to at least plan ahead and check schedules, if possible, to make sure there isn’t some sort of tournament or high school meet going on.

Don’t rule out the possibility of a good brick wall.  If you can find a flat area like that with enough pavement to run around and play, that’s a great place to practice.  You and your daughter can practice making contact, aiming shots, or can even play an impromptu “doubles match”.  Some tennis courts have a wall installed over the chain link fence, but you might find a usable wall at an area school.  Just remember that the wall is a very good tennis player and is a fierce competitor.  It does not give up.

Relentless

Again, if you’re not athletic, that’s okay.  She may be extremely athletic and tennis is just not something your body can do.  If that’s the case, go with her to watch her practice or toss her serves.  Hey, rent one of those serving machines and run that for her.  Just try and hold back from using it as a Gatling gun (Oh come on, you were thinking about it)  Either way, you can still spend time with her and give her an opportunity to do the sport if you’re not directly on the other end of the court.

It’s like combining Call of Duty and Grand Slam Tennis

“Some one-on-one time that I try to do with my daughters is I try to center on a more physical or “athletic” activity.  For example, there’s a pretty big park called “Wheeler Park” about 3/4 mile away from our house. So I’ll take just the younger 2 girls to the playground there, or I’ll take just the older 2 girls there to play tennis for 45 minutes.

Frankly, my daughters are still developing as players, so it’s usually me just hitting groundstrokes from one side and my daughters on the other side trying to send the balls back.  Admittedly though, I’m a HUGE sports fan, so anything I can do with my daughters in the area of sports/physical activity, I try to promote it.  I did play tennis in high school. Held my own as a solid doubles player, but I’m no Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic.

 I’m sort of passing it down to them, but it’s definitely not important for them to do sports.  Don’t get me wrong, when they do like a sport and have some aptitude in it, it’s very easy for me to share in that.  However, my larger goal in this area is to promote healthy physical activity and a lifetime of fitness…and I think organized sports can be 1 tool out of many to accomplish that.

At the end of the journey, you won’t say “boy, i wished i worked x more hours in my life”….but one might say, “i wish i spent more time with my wife / daughters / friends / whatever”. Russ C.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being a dad….

Fifty Shades of I Don’t Want to Know…

What’s your daughter reading?  Seriously, think about that.  What is she currently reading?

She might be at such a young age that it’s really irrelevant.  There are bears, princesses, and you have to find 4 hiding goldfish.  That’s about it.  Sure, the plot line is a little thin, but she asks you to read it over and over and over.  It’s good bonding time and you’re raising a little reader.  Good for you, Dad.

Well, this looks like a good-OHNONONOOOO

But what happens when she’s older and she’s making decisions on what to read on her own?  Some experts have voiced their opinions on how young women could perceive relationships based upon fantasized stories.  I’ve already addressed my distaste for all things Twilight, but that was what I first believed to be bottom of the barrel as it came to content.

I was wrong.  Do you know if your daughter is reading Fifty Shades of Gray?  You should.  Look, I haven’t read it, can almost guarantee I won’t read it, and definitely won’t be listening to it on my commute (it could make a traffic jam awkward).  But your daughter might want to read it.  That’s dangerous stuff, right there.  It’s being lauded in the media and lifted up as edgy.  But a teenage girl reading that is going to warp her sense of relationships.  Face it, you don’t want your daughter involved in that in real life.

Doesn’t look so bad NOW, does it?

Look, depressed vampires and belligerent werewolves are one thing.  You don’t need to worry about her ACTUALLY bringing home one of those.  Yeah, maybe a few introductions will be with someone that’s tatted up and looks like they tripped on a tackle box, but they’re not going to make you part of the living undead.  Rest easy there because you shouldn’t have to break that one to your daughter.

But the representation of what’s normal in relationships and physical relationships; you have to talk to her about that.  So many dads look at a situation like that and ostrich up.  “Too much drama”, they say.  “I can’t talk to her” or “That’s her mom’s job” are two other common answers.  Seriously, you need to get over that and get ready for that conversation.  I’ve said it before, if you want your daughter to be able to talk to you about anything, you should be willing to talk to her about anything.

Way to go, Dad.

Yeah, it’s going to be uncomfortable and it’s not going to be fun.  It’s going to be a conversation both you and her remember for the rest of your lives.  And that’s why it’s so important.  As my friend Dale says, “That conversation just might stop her from having sex with a drug addict.” That’s nothing to bring up during your speech on her wedding day, but it’s true.  If she’s going to read fiction, she needs to know what should be fiction to her.  Just like she’s not still trying to take off on that broom after reading Harry Potter.  And don’t pull the technicalities of Universal Studios on me.

Yes, there will always be those things out there that we wish our daughters weren’t exposed to.  I guess Twilight’s no worse than those Harlequinn novels my mother-in-law reads, but that’s another blog post.  But just because she is into something you don’t understand, doesn’t mean you stop being her dad and that you stop helping her understand the world around her.  It means you double-down, get serious about parenting, and be there for her.

Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-