June 16, 2017

What Age is the Best Age?

As we were wrapping up our men's league baseball game the other day, the topic of kids came up which it frequently does. All of us are over 30 and most of us have at least one kid. Some of them have kids that are grown and out of the house and others have had a baby in the past year. We run the gamut when it comes to parenting experience.

One of the guys was talking about his three year old and I commented about how that was such a fun age. He looked at me like I was an idiot. Apparently dealing with a child that is coming into their own and demanding that they have a say in things is something that I completely forgot about. Sure, I remember the tough times, but with a 10 year old and an almost teenager, I look back and can't help but think that WAS a fun age. The world is new to them and everything is amazing. Ask a 12 year old and all you get out of them is a "ok."

It got me thinking about what age are kids the best?

Maybe it's when they are first born and you get that first little smile. The one that tells you that they are totally getting your jokes, or maybe the one that is telling you that their diaper is full of poop. Either way, is there anything better than a newborn baby?

One is a good age too. Especially when they start copying you. It makes you realize that a little bit of you is rubbing off on them, and maybe they are paying attention and god forbid... actually starting to idolize you. One was the best age.

Maybe two was? I mean, they are much more mobile at that age and they can do so many more things. You don't have to carry them everywhere, but you also have to chase them more. There's good and bad I guess, but two was great.

But you know what was even better than that? Adding another one to the mix. A three year old and a newborn! That was a great time to be alive. But the lack of sleep and the constant crying, not to mention more diapers filled with poop... Seeing the older one become a big brother was the best.

Perhaps my favorite age was when Tyler was four and Carter was one. Carter always had that binky in his mouth. I always thought he looked like a chainsmoker with that thing... boy was he cute. And Tyler? He was really into art and loved to draw.  I wouldn't trade those ages for anything.

Except for maybe when Tyler was five and Carter was two. That was fun. We took them to France that year and bought them shields and swords. They didn't like bad guys and were going to protect us. 

Six and three were fun ages too. Everything was a hoot. As Tyler got smarter each and everyday, Carter got more and more wild. He was a handful, but man, at his cutest he was CUTE. But did he ever have a set of lungs. We were at the height of loving Toy Story at the time and who doesn't love that?

Seven and four were the best! You could tell that the kids couldn't stand each other, but they couldn't stand NOT BEING around each other either. They have really developed quite a brotherly bond. Tyler was the protector, except the thing he needed to be protected from was his little brother.

Eight and five were fun ages too. We were still able to dress them in the same outfit as each other and either they didn't notice or they didn't care. Perhaps Tyler cared, but he was too much of a nice kid to let us know. Carter I'm sure screamed the whole car ride up Mt. Washington, but at least he smiled when the camera was rolling. He was sneaky like that.  We could travel everywhere with kids that age and everything was still new and exciting. I like that a lot about those ages.

But I liked nine and six even more. I hadn't taught them how to skip rocks yet, so I thought that there was no better place to do that than under the Post du Gard in Provence. I know it's an awfully long way to go from New Jersey to accomplish such things. But we took a few years off from international travel because Carter was a terror when it came to this sort of thing. He was cute and wonderful and all that, but at six years old he looked to outgrow all that. So yeah, nine and six were really good ages.

But man... was 10 and 7 awesome!  The boys started to get obsessed with sports, especially baseball which is my favorite. We spent the summer watching baseball games on TV and going to games in person. I didn't know if the would have then patience to watch a three hour game in person, but they loved it. Two baseball loving kids... what more could a father ask for?

At 11 and eight, we bought them a dog. What could be cuter than an 11 and eight year old with a dog. It turns out nothing was. Snowball was the perfect addition to our family and it made this age SO MUCH FUN.

12 and nine could have been the best ages. You can really start to have adult conversations with Tyler and Carter is still that innocent little boy as much as he tries to come across as a tough guy. He still wanted you to carry him upstairs, but only if his friends aren't around. Tyler was in middle school and started to learn things that you can actually remember. Sixth grade homework is so much easier than second grade homework.

But then here we are today... and it's the best. 13 and 10. Something tells me that when they are 63 and 60 I will still think those are awesome ages.

So what age is the best age? As long as I am a dad... all of them.

Pampers is giving thanks this Father's day to babies for making dad feel exceptionally special. They are honoring dads like myself for doing just that, being a dad. Please join them in tweeting why you are thankful for baby using the hashtag #ThanksBaby.

**I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion. All the honesty and raw emotion was mine and nobody else's.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


June 14, 2017

Who Exactly are These Morning People?

I have never been a morning person. Which is kind of funny, because for six years my mornings existed while some of you hadn't even gone to sleep yet. I was up BEFORE the guy who made the donuts, garbage men were still sleeping, and the morning newspaper? Well, let's just say news was still being made.

I don't know what I was thinking taking a job that had me get to work at 2:00 in the morning, but I do know it made me somewhat of a zombie. I had never really drank coffee at all in my life. There was the occasional cup at holiday gatherings, though I was more of a tea guy. Not the kind of tea guy that could tell the difference Earl Grey and Chamomile, but I liked tea way better than coffee.

I still have a mug from when I was a kid
It probably had something to do with my parents. They drink coffee black and that was something that I was never going to put in my system.  If I were to ever drink coffee, it would have to be with cream and sugar. The problem is that I don't think my house had cream OR sugar growing up... so black it was. And not only was it black, it tasted like the worst bitter liquid that anyone on earth could consume. It seemed more like car fuel than human fuel.  My parents have gotten better at making coffee, but only because you can disguise the taste with flavorings, something I make sure they have on hand.

I didn't drink much coffee in college either.  It wasn't coffee that got us through late night cramming sessions, it was chicken wings. We would always order from the same place.  I don't know what it was about those wings, but looking back about them now, I think some still had feathers on them. Maybe coffee would have been better, but at the time Sal's Sassy Sauce was what fueled us. That or video games.

I didn't even drink coffee when I first had kids. I know it's hard to believe if you scour social media nowadays, but here I was - a parent that didn't drink coffee. Shoot me if you must, but based on my history with the stuff, or lack there of, coffee was never on my radar. I think what got me through the early stages of parenthood was the fact that my wife did all the overnight feedings. SHE was the one who needed coffee. Before you get all mad at me for not doing my part, she was the one with the boobs that lactated, not me. Besides that was about to change pretty drastically.

When my son turned four months old, I switched my schedule at work to start working in the early morning (or was it late night?). The change was actually pretty crazy. I had worked that schedule a few times but never on a regular basis so I didn't really know what working that schedule could do to the human body.  Long story short, don't ever jump at the chance to work that early in the morning. You become reliant on coffee and if you are anything like me after drinking one cup, you become reliant on a bathroom as well... which was pretty difficult since I didn't work your typical office job. Coffee makes me have to go and it's not easy to do when you have NO WHERE to go. But I never would have been able to get through the day without at least three cups of coffee

I no longer have that work schedule as I left that job almost seven years ago to be a full time stay at home parent. I'm still not much of a morning person and I never truly understood people who are. I prefer to stay up late watching terrible TV shows than waking up early to do anything. I still drink coffee, but it has to taste good. I'm at the point in my life where nothing goes in my body that I'm going to think is disgusting.

I have never been really good at making coffee. Perhaps I have the same genes as my parents, so I would always head out to one of those fancy coffee shops.  You know, the ones where they draw little pictures in your latte or spice up your cappuccino with one of those cinnamon sticks? We all know what the problem is there though...it's way too expensive.

If I'm not golfing, you can find me in the morning working the garden
Fortunately you can get the same coffee shop flavor with Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend that you can brew right in your own home. Pour it over ice, use a french press, or even cold brew it. You can have the same coffeehouse feel without ever changing out of your pajamas. Folgers Coffeehouse Blend is a medium/dark roast designed to start off smooth and finish with a distinct bold flavor. A coffee this versatile might even be able to turn me into a morning person.

Well... let's not go crazy.

**I have partnered with J.M. Smucker Smucker and Life of Dad on this #ShouldBeOnACoffeeMug campaign. All opinions are my own.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?