A Note for my daughter, Tatum

Dear Tatum,

If ever I were to pass and did not get the chance to share our stories, there are some things I would like you to know.

You are 6 and I am 38 as I write this and I’m hoping we both live for many many more decades.

But you never know.  Life can be unpredictable.  That’s why we all need to be grateful for each moment that we have.

So, in the event that I leave you at a way too early age, these words are for you.

Our favorite game to play is called Count to 10.  I go in my room and count to 10 while you go and hide in your bedroom.  I come in and find an animal to talk with and ask, “have you seen Tatum”?  The first animal always tells me that you are in Reece’s room.  I ask the animal to stay put, not to move an inch, while I find you.  I search Reece’s room and of course, you are not there.

When I come back to the room the animal has moved to a different spot.  I get mad and say they are going to be in trouble, then I grab a second animal and try to find you again.

This goes on for a few times.  The animals tell me you are in my room, the laundry room, the bathroom, sometimes even downstairs.  Finally I realize that the animals all have the same voice and I start to ask them questions.  One of them or sometimes all of them will show me where you are hiding by pointing in your direction.  I finally find you and tickle you and carry you to the tub.  That’s our pre-bathtime game.

We also love playing a game called Pretend I need to take a Nap.  This is one where you crawl under the covers and I pretend to not know where you are.  I yawn and say ” I could really use a nap, I think I’ll lay down before putting Tatum to bed.”  I lay down on the bed, feel something that should be as soft as a pillow but feels hard like a body, and start to tickle feet and tummies.  I always then say, “hey, this isn’t a pillow, this is a Tatum!!!”

We love that game.

You also love playing in the bath.  You always ask if you can play in the bath while I’m getting your clothes ready.

 

tatum-and-me-reading

 

I always say yes.  Another thing you love to do, especially when Mommy isn’t home….ssshhhh……, is come downstairs after I put you to bed.  Sometimes I will put on movies like Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back when you come down.  You even like documentaries.  Actually, you really like documentaries.  Especially when they include animals.

Without question, our most favorite time together is when you go to bed.  Almost every night we ask a series of questions.

What are you grateful for?

What are you proud of that you did today?

Are you sad about anything?

What are you happy about?

I record it on my watch and then we listen to it.  You crack up!  You’re a funny little girl.  A handful at times. But still a funny little girl.  It’s impossible for me to stay mad at you.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Just before bed.  Every single night.  Just as I am walking out of your room, you ask me the following questions.

“Daddy, what if I have to use the bathroom?”  Then use the bathroom I reply.

“Daddy, what if I have to ask you a question?”  Then ask I question.

“Daddy, what if I have to do both?”  Then do both.

“Daddy, what if I need to make a statement?”  Then make a statement.

As I’m walking out the door, “Good night Tatum, I love you.”  I love you too, dad, you reply.  It’s the best part of my day.

We have a lot of fun together.  The idea of being without you or you being without me makes me incredibly sad.  I hope and hope and hope that it is a very long time before we have to go through that.

I love you, Tatum.  With every ounce of my heart.

Daddy.

5 Reasons to take kids to Disney for their Birthday

Empowering our Youth

 

My daughter, Tatum, was born on the 3rd of July, 2010.  We were able to have a party for her the first 4 years despite the vacation schedules of her friends and our family.   We ran into a few snags when we were looking at places for her 5th birthday.

Our favorite idea was a Tea party at the local bookstore.  She had been to a My Little Pony themed Tea party at the same store a few months back.  It was perfect.  Our theme was going to be Alice In Wonderland.  We were very excited!

When we went to the bookstore to schedule the party we found out the Tea party people took the entire month of June off.  Their first available party wouldn’t be until July 11th.  8 days after her birthday.

That isn’t going to work.

To top it off, her brother, Reece, was asked to go on vacation with a friend the week leading up to the 4th.  So even he wasn’t going to be around.  What’s a Florida loving family to do?

 

Disney!!

 

Tatum and Pluto

 

5 Reasons why you should take your child (or yourself!) to Disney for a Birthday.

 

1. Happy Birthday Princess!

I can’t tell you how many times I heard a cast member say this to Tatum.  The number is probably closer to 50 than 20.  We told our resort that we were there to celebrate Tatum’s birthday so they brought out a Birthday button and wrote her name on it.  The cast members at the resort as well as everywhere else on property made her feel like she was the most special person on the planet!

The highlight of this had to be at the Spectromagic Parade the evening that we went to the Magic Kingdom.  We had a front row seat at the parade.  Alice was high atop a float doing her thing, talking into a microphone.  As she got closer to us she looked down and saw Tatum with her button.  She looked right at her, gave her a big smile and said “Happy Birthday Princess!”  Tatum’s smile touched both ears.

 

2. So many cupcakes.

Clarissa scheduled a dinner at the Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club.  Wow!  It’s a seafood buffet that is to die for.  If you’re a fan of seafood than you need to check this out the next time you are in Orlando.  When we finished our meal and were about to settle up, our sever surprised all of us with a beautiful cupcake topped with a candle.  The three of us sang Happy Birthday to her as she glowed from the attention.

Later in the visit we had breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe which is located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge where we were staying.  They also brought Tatum a cupcake with a candle, although this time they had a special surprise when it came time to sing Happy Birthday.  More on that later…

 

3. The Birthday cards!

Another thing that both the Cape May and Whispering Canyon Cafe’s did that was above and beyond was to give Tatum a birthday card.  But this wasn’t just any old birthday card, no these cards were signed by the characters.  First, our server at Cape May Cafe gave Tatum a card signed by Minnie, Donald and Goofy.  Goofy, of course, signed his upside down which Tatum loved!

When we had breakfast a few days later at Whispering Canyon, our server brought us a card signed by Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, Alice, Belle, Anna and Ariel!

Leave it to Disney to bring her a card with real signatures, not just stamped.  Also, way to go for being organized enough to give her 2 different cards.  Very impressive, Disney.

 

4. The Perfect Stranger at Whispering Canyon Cafe.

We went to the Magic Kingdom the day before her birthday.  Her birthday was our last full day of the trip so we wanted to relax a little bit and enjoy the Wilderness Lodge.  Her birthday was also the day we had breakfast at the Whispering Canyon.  After breakfast, our server whispered to Clarissa and I and asked if we had time for a cupcake and a song.  Of course we did!  It was her birthday after all.

A few minutes passed and the next thing we knew our server had returned with a man named Eric.  Eric was also a guest at the resort who was also celebrating a birthday!!  Our server explained to him that since Tatum and he had the same birthday, he would need to sing Happy Birthday to her.

Eric was unbelievable!  He got down on his knee and sang the most beautiful version of Happy Birthday I had ever heard.  It’s not that his voice was perfect, it wasn’t, but there is something very special about a man on one knee looking your daugher in the eye and singing to her from the heart.

If Eric has a son, let that be the boy Tatum falls in love with.

 

5. You may just get to hear Mickey Mouse sing to you.

I have been to Disney World many times.  My parents took me when I was a kid and I married a woman who loves it more than I do.  Also, I am a former Cast Member.  If you went to the Tusker House in Animal Kingdom in the Fall of 2001 then there is a good chance we came in contact with one another.

One thing that I never thought I would hear from the characters was a voice.  That all changed on our day at the Magic Kingdom.  We had dinner at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant on Main Street, the same restaurant where Lady and the Tramp had their first kiss.  After dinner, we noticed that Mickey Mouse was seeing guests right next to where we were. He had a wait, 25 minutes.  Tinkerbell was also there but her wait was only 10 minutes.  Guess which one I wanted to do?

Luckily Tatum had a different idea.  So we waited the 25 minutes to see the Mouse we had seen several dozen times before.  When we finally got in to the secret room, we were shocked! Mickey Mouse started talking!!  His mouth was moving and he was having a conversation with people.  First was a little boy in front of us who he called pal and asked to give hugs to his parents.  Next was a little girl who he called a princess.

Finally, it was our turn.  Tatum walked up, gave Mickey a hug and he noticed her pin.  He asked her how old she was and then he said he wanted everyone to sing Happy Birthday to her.  Everyone in the room sang to her but their was one voice that rose above all the others.  That classic, very recognizable voice of Mickey Mouse.  To say it was special is a massive understatement.  It was spectacular!

 

When can we go back!

The trip is over, Reece and Tatum are back at camp with their friends and Clarissa and I are back at work.  I suppose Tatum missed out an a few presents and a couple hours where her friends and family made her feel special.  But I’m not sure that anything could have topped the experience of those three days at Disney.  At first I thought having a birthday near a Holiday would make things difficult.  Now I’m thinking of ways to go to Disney for all of our Birthdays!

 

 

What are your thoughts on taking your kids away instead of having a party?

 

 

My name is Keith Laskey. I actually believe children are our future. I write articles about how we can empower our youth so that the world will be a better place for all of us.

 

 

A quick question!

 I am curious to see if parents think children should be taught Life Skills and Success Principles.  I would greatly appreciate your input on the question below.  No email needed or follow up from me will be received.  Thanks!!

 

 

 

 

I’m not a babysitter, I’m a Dad

Empowering our Youth

 

 

Clarissa, my wife, is away this weekend.  She went to Ft. Lauderdale with my cousin.  My cousin lived in Arizona last year which was her first year after college.  Her company moved her to Arizona.  How lucky is that!  After her first year she was sent to Hoboken.  Not as lucky.  But at least she is close to New York.

So after a year in Arizona my cousin was in need of a trip away from this God awful Winter.  And Clarissa doesn’t like when the temperature drops below 80.  So she was absolutely in.

The thing that pisses me off is that these two find themselves in Florida during Spring Training.  They aren’t necessarily close to any of the games but still.  There is no better place to be in March than Florida.  To say I’m super jealous in a massive understatement.

Have fun.  Jerks.

A Dad’s Biggest Pet Peeve

 

dads dont babysit

 

Are you a Dad?  Have you heard this before, “Oh your wife has plans tonight, are you babysitting?”  Or even better, “Oh you are Mr. Mom this weekend?”

No Asshole!  I’m Mr. Dad this weekend.

Dad’s don’t babysit, they parent.  Not that I have any issues with babysitters.  The world needs more good babysitters.  Clarissa and I REALLY need a good babysitter.  Hence why we rarely get a chance to go out by ourselves.

What do these people think we do, sit and watch movies all day and Paw Patrol all night?  OK, so we are probably going to watch a ton of movies and shows.  But there will be plenty of other activities as well.  Board games in the living room, soccer and basketball in the basement, hide and seek under the covers with her stuffed animals, all kinds of fun activities.

Time at home with the kids without Mom around means time to for Dad and the kids to bond.  For this reason alone, I never mind when Clarissa goes away.  I’m grateful for these opportunities.

Reece, my 10 year old stepson has a few baseball practices this weekend.  After his Saturday practice he will be spending the rest of the weekend with his father.

That leaves me with my 4 year old, Tatum.  Here’s what Tatum and I have planned for the weekend.  Saturday we are going to a My Little Pony tea party.  It makes me feel weird just writing those words.  And on Sunday I am taking her to see Mary Poppins at a local Catholic High School.

Sure, I would prefer if she and I watched 20 hours of College Basketball this weekend.  But she is so excited.  Not even the Dolphins in the Super Bowl could keep me from going to these events with her.

Proud to be a Dad!

So, no, I don’t like being called Mr. Mom.  I have never once babysat and I’m not going to start with my own kids.  Maybe that is the way things used to be but this is a new generation of Dads.  We take the role of being a father very seriously.

I’m proud to be in that group.  If you are a dad and also feel this way than you should know there is a huge group of guys just like you.  Reach out to us at the link below or click here.

Have a great day.

 

My name is Keith Laskey. I actually believe children are our future. I write articles about how we can empower our youth so that the world will be a better place for all of us.

National At-Home Dad Network