"Dadography" from Parents Express

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aidan, 6, is smarter than Dad, 483

I am happy to say that, unlike most parents, I can actually pinpoint the date on which Aidan surpassed his father in the area of brilliance. It was yesterday, March 23, and it happened after a long day for everyone.

Upon returning home, beaten by life, I encountered my son asleep on the couch. My wife told me he had been snoozing for about a half-hour and that her attempts to waken him had been unsuccessful. I went over to him, said hello quietly and brushed his hair. He made a groan that seemed to say, "If you don't get away from me right now, I am going to kill you."

We Kaye men are known for our violent, if not overly wordy, groans.

He turned over and went back to sleep. A few minutes later I tried again, only to be met with an identical experience. By the third time, I just knelt down next to him and whispered, "Do you want me to carry you upstairs?" To me surprise, he nodded and wheezed a tiny "yes."

I scooped him up and made my way upstairs. Since he is 6 and I am old and feeble, maneuvering the stairs was not as simple as I would have liked. The fact that I didn't bash his head into the wall, banister, window or door was remarkable.

We crept into his room and I gently put him on the bed. As I was about to make my getaway, a small but strong voice said, "My eyes are open, you know."

Nex thing I knew, we were on our way back downstairs. He was too fully awake to be in bed; heck, it was even still light outside. But his groans returned and I offered (for reasons I cannot fathom) to carry him downstairs on my back. He was happy to take that ride, and within minutes we were back where we began.

How this proves that Aidan is smarter than me is the mere fact that, based on a groan, I carried him all the way upstairs, gently and slowly so as to not wake him. He was evidently very much wide awake and was seeing all this as a big joke. Then, after the fraud was revealed, I offered to carry him back downstairs.

These are not the actions of a healthy mind. These are the actions of a father, head over heels in love with his child. And when that happens, and when the dad realizes how helpless he is over it, the child has won. The student has become the master.

Next time, I'm making sure the little monster is asleep. Where's my ibuprofen?

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bubble Plays Beatles' at The World Cafe

For a while now, I've been including all the Peanut Butter & Jams' kids' concerts held almost every Saturday at World Cafe Live, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, in the calendar section of PARENTS EXPRESS. But it wasn't until my friend and coworker, Frank (the editor of Ticket, the entertainment section of 15 Montgomery Newspapers) asked me to write a story about the concert that i finally decided to go see one.

After all, it was Beatles' music, for cryin' out loud! Who wouldn't want to enjoy some John-Paul-George-Ringo tunes? And with so many Beatles' events happening (including "Rain" at the Kimmel Center), it was time to get Aidan, 6, deeply involved in the integral music. So far, he know a handful of their songs, but not nearly enough to be considered MY son.

I did the interview for Frank, talking to the very friendly and very cool Dave Foster (lead singer and Bubble co-founder) and that story can be found in the Ticket section of www.montgomerynews.com. Dave made me want to attend even more, mainly because he did the interview with a toddler yelling joyfully in the background, without Dave getting upset once.

So Wendy, Aidan and me, jumped in the car and went down to the concert. World Cafe Live - at 11 a.m. on a Saturday - is a fairly quiet place. But you can see that the joint must be a jumping good time other nights of the week. They have an eclectic concert schedule chock full of acts you probably don't know yet, but will. But then, they also have bigger names from the past that are sure to delight all comers.

As soon as we got downstairs, sat on the floor (yes, we all could stretch out on a clean, wood floor) the lights went off and the band came out. For more than an hour, it was a wonderful trip down memory lane. The band highlighted all the songs from "Revolver," a favorite record of mine, and did their versions wonderfully, adhering to the boys' versions. The sound was great, the music fun and lovely, and the sight of seeing so many children, babies and new parents laughing, singing and dancing was terrific. Aidan didn't want to leave until the last song was played, and that is a definite testament to the band and the Beatles.

If you get a chance, go to www.Bubbleland.com to learn more about Bubble, and be sure to go to World Cafe Live to see a great concert in a great venue. You'll go back again and again. Oh, and then rent "A Hard Day's Night." Aidan and I watched it the next morning and it was a silly, funny blast.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

With a child, there's something especially fun about introducing them to new things. Aidan, 5, loves new things, always trying to figure out what they do or mean, how they work, and what comes next. He does it with a smile and that infectious, earnest attitude that is cute in a child and annoying in an adult.

A few years back, They Might Be Giants (that fantastic band from my college years that never got its due) began putting out kids CDs. They had dabbled with kids' music for a while but now had created this music/video learning concept that married their imaginative sounds with some great animation. Of course, I bought whatever they came out with and excitedly looked forward to the next installment.

When Aidan started to get very interested in science a little while ago (he went out as a mad scientist for Halloween), I started looking for science-related kids' stuff for him. When I found that TMBG had just released an item called "Here Comes Science," I couldn't believe the luck. And then, when I found out they were coming to the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia, I knew we were going to thier concert. I mean, we HAD to!

So that's where you could find us, November 21, at the TLA, crammed in with hundreds of other parents, grandparents, teachers and - of course, kids - jumping, singing, clapping and laughing along with this wonderful, smart band and their wonderful, smart music.

They even gave out stickers to the audience afterwards, and we got them handed to us by John Flansburgh! (We were looking for John Linnell, but he wasn't around just then.)

The long and the short of it is that, if you have a kid that loves music and learning, or just music...or just learning, go out and get any of the kids' music from They Might Be Giants - "Here Comes the ABCs," "Here Comes the 1, 2, 3s" or "Here Comes Science." The children will learn things (and you will, too) and everyone will love the music.

And if you ever get a chance to see them do their kids' concert, go. I mean it - just go. They are wonderful.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Me on the PTA

I don't think my mother was ever on the PTA and I KNOW my father wasn't. Both were awfully busy when I was in school: my mom with work and college, my dad with work and with not being around. So all I knew about the PTA was what I saw on TV - "Harper Valley PTA" and such. (Yes, I am that old.)

So after Aidan began kindergarten a few weeks back, we saw a notice on the school calendar that the PTA was meeting on a Thursday night. Wendy couldn't do it, but my schedule was a little flexible that night so I thought I'd go. I didn't give it too much thought, thankfully, because I probably would have convinced myself not to go, and would have missed an enlightening experience.

The place was pretty packed when I got there and I stood around looking dopier than usual as I tried to figure out what to do. Everybody seemed to be talking to someone, or filling out their names on forms or appearing equally comfortable with what was expected. But all I could think of doing is walking around looking at things and smiling nervously at whoever would look at me.

Finally I saw someone I knew, a friend of my wife's, and went to say hello. I sat down near her and she started to explain what would happen - speeches, questions answered, calendar of events notices - and I began to feel more comfortable. Then I was tapped on the shoulder by another friend. Things were getting better. Then I saw someone else I knew, and another, and another. Any nervousness I might have been feeling went away. I was still only one of about four or five males in the room, but things seemed OK.

What followed was a series of quick speeches or updates from the president of the PTA, various officers and the school's principal and vice principal. There was a mention of someone named Sally Foster, but she turned out to be some kind of decorating product thingy (as I found out just before asking someone who Ms. Foster was and why everyone would want her).

I was especially made comfortable by the president of the PTA, a young mom who seemed to be very clear that parents today are terribly busy and that money is tight, so that we shouldn't feel obligated to come to every meeting or donate to every fund-raising sheet that came home with our children. She was also very appreciative that we were all there that night and that we were willing to hear her ideas and share our own. I think the fastest way to a person's schedule is through expressions of appreciation.

I honestly enjoyed the evening. It was nice to get a 21st century definition of the PTA and to meet so many interested parents. It was interesting to see that people - no matter how busy they are - want to contribute to their child's life. It was inspiring to hear the projects they had planned for the kids and how we could all play a role.

So I'll be going back to the PTA. I've already signed up for a project and am maintaining an email chat with the PTA president. I'm doing it because I want to, not because anyone is forcing or guilting me into it. I'm also doing it because I want Aidan, 5, to know how much I believe in education. By going to these meetings and getting involved, I hope he'll see his schooling as important, fun and integral to his life.

Me, on the PTA. Hee, hee, hee...

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Friday, September 4, 2009

A Quick Chat with Cecily Tynan

Today I had some fun, speaking with Philadelphia-area meteorologist Cecily Tynan. I had met Cecily through Facebook and we began a new friendship. We go to each other's homes, do each other's hair, talk about the healthcare crisis.

Wait...no, that's not it.

Actually, Cecily has been very cordial, not calling the police about me even once so far. Instead, she answers my questions, laughs at my jokes and shares all sorts of information about her life as a mom.

As normal and sweet as she is on TV, she is on the phone. Sure I'm a journalist writing a story about her, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with it. She is just genuine, laughing about her kids and beaming through the phone everytime she mentions her husband and children.

By her admission, her life is kind of normal. There are tasks to be done, discipline to be handed out and fun hugs to be embraced. She has her job to go to, her home to maintain and her family to love.

It was a fun time, talking to her.

Now, when is she going to invite my family over to go swimming?

Look for the full article about Cecily Tynan in next month's Parents Express magazine!

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What time of year is it anyway?

It's hot and I'm sweating. The flowers are drooping, the cats are drooping, our droopings are drooping. So what time of year is it? Why, time to get ready for Halloween, of course!

My son, Aidan, 5, loves Halloween. Well, "love" is kind of a weak word for it. Let me explain it thusly - for Aidan, there is no time that is not Halloween-y by its very existence. It is either just past Halloween, or on the way to next Halloween. Oh, well, there's that period of time when it is exactly Halloween, but that date is left open to interpretation...his.

So when we stopped by Michael's Craft Store and saw a few Halloween things lying about, the calendar shifted and summer was virtually at an end. By the time we got home with our $1.99 foam skeleton, costumes had been discussed - for this year and next - and plans were being percolated inside his little skull for a Haunted House unlike anything the world had ever seen.

To be fair, this wasn't his first Halloween jolt. A few months back he saw - oh I don't know - a bird, and that got him to obsessing about how it should be Halloween soon. Suddenly I am making paper ghosts, darkening my home office to make things scary and pretending to be terrified every time I saw the faint glow of a dying flashlight focused on a colored rubber pumpkin from last year.

So here it is August and I'm deep into Halloween territory. I suspect that the next 10 weeks will be chock full of booing and vampires and things that go bump in the night. Well, maybe until 12:01 a.m. November 1, when Christmas slams into the house.

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Name: Daniel Sean Kaye
Location: United States

Editor of Parents Express magazine; senior special sections editor for Montgomery Media

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