Teachable Moments

It’s not lost on me that I just don’t update as much as I did when the girls were younger.  I could say time and commitments are the reason – and probably build a good case. But the reality is when my first post about bra shopping (more than seven years ago) this blog was about my day-to-day as  an only parent of two girls. While that hasn’t changed, my scope has.  We’ve changed from dad and two girls to a dad and two teens.  I do less parenting and spend more time looking for teachable moments.

To be clear, I’m still a parent.  I still get to say, “no.”  But I’m far more effective when I’m able to use a moment to convey a lesson.  It was just last week I realized I’ve come to embrace those teachable moments.

This all crystalized when 17.0 (I can’t believe that either) went to take her road test last week.  I just got a new car, and I had the temporary registration taped to the inside of the windshield.  Honestly, I had never looked at it.  I was just waiting for the regular registration to show up in the mail as it would in the course of business.

However, the road test day showed up before the regular registration – and it turns out the temp was not printed well and arguable the expiration date for the registration on my car was illegible.  Arguable because I was able to read it and the woman at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office was able to read it – but the tester claimed he could not.

I could see the disappointment in 17.0’s face when the tester said he could not get in the car and take her for her road test due to the registration.  We headed for the nearest DMV office, waited on a relatively short line and got the sticker.  On the way back to the testing area, 17.0 asked me why I didn’t argue with the tester more.


It’s time for 17.0 to understand that there are times it futile to argue with people who aren’t her father – there was no way I was changing the tester’s mind, so I went for solving the problem.

Both girls are traveling with international destinations this summer.  A couple of years ago when the girls were in camp there was a trip to Canada and it turns out their American Express debit cards did not work internationally.

And she passed her road test, wave if you see her drive by you.

This year, both girls are out in the world with credit cards.


Now I’m trying to explain the importance of credit ratings to both girls, and get them to understand they’ll get a bill eventually.

We’ll see how that goes I suppose.

So instead of semi-pithy realities of being an only parent – I’ll try to document those teachable moments now – and a bit about how those lessons are received.

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Birthday’s The Event That Continues to Perplex the Single Dad

I freely admit that I remain deeply perplexed by birthdays.  I really do struggle with them-and not just mine, my kids, the people close to me, co-workers, the guy in Friday’s when they all start clapping hands.  I truly miss the point.

For a very long time, I struggled to even recognize my birthdays’ not that I am averse to getting older mind you.  Its more just a compilation of events and happenings-I’d rather grow older and have another day.

Today is my older daughter’s birthday, and its a big day for her and I get that and understand that.  In fact I want it to be a special day for her.  The problem is that really until last year, making sure gifts were purchased and wrapped, parties at least planned and thought about and at least concepts handled were my wife’s job.

Last year when it fell to me, I can say in two tries I did not do a great job I’ve tried to be more proactive about it this year.  Still its a scramble to get it done and I am not sure I am doing anyone a service.

While I planned 11.0’s birthday dinner a few weeks ago, and have the friends and place all lined up-I kind of stopped there.  I had to pick up cards last night and a gift today.  Hell, I even knew what I was getting and I still waited.

In spending some time thinking about this, I think the issue is mine, and my aversion to birthday’s.  Is it possible I’ve been so averse to birthday’s for so long I’ve completely lost touch? I’m truly not sure its quite that dire, but it also can’t be natural to have to scramble for an event you know is coming.  I can tell you right now, 11.0 will have a birthday on 6/6/2012-will I be any more ready then than I am now?

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