Category: kids

The Jiruean Diamond

I am so pleased to share this ebook…

Written by my 10 year old daughter in less than 2 weeks at summer writing camp.

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it shares more about her than I would have been brave enough to do at 10 years old. Posted with her express permission and desire.

It was a workout just not in the Box

Kayak time.

Dear friend who is fighting cancer asked if we wanted to join them kayaking Elkhorn Slough (near Monterey, CA). Of course we said yes.kayak fathers day

Got there at 11am. Fogged in and cold as always. I had my oldest (10yo) with me, and I rented a closed deck tandem kayak. Other friends were also in a closed double. Another couple was gracious enough to split up for the day. He went in a single kayak, and she took an open deck double paring up with my youngest daughter (9yo). Open decks are more stable and self-bailing, but they are slower, don’t have rudders and are higher and more susceptible to wind.

Speaking of wind, it was blowing steadily – due East. The Slough is pretty much East-West, so you either have the wind at your back or in your face. Tide was also coming in. We paddled going in, but we also rafted up a couple of times, and let the wind and current push us in.

We went in about 4 miles or so. Then we explored some channels. On the way back the wind had really picked up. I’ve paddled the Slough and easy 75 times. We used to race it and then go run for a couple of hours almost every weekend. Usually we were in low, fast, fiberglass, single boats. Being in a plastic tandem that rides higher makes things tougher. Being in a tandem with a 10 year old who doesn’t paddle much…. well that’s called being a father.

My friend and my 9yo were really struggling, so I did the usual – tied them to the back of my boat and towed them in.

Towing another boat into the wind for 4 miles kinda sucks. It’s also a really good ab workout. Paddling is done from your core not your shoulders. Trust me, I took a class on it.

I took very few breaks because the wind would start blowing us backwards whenever I stopped paddling, and everybody hates losing ground. It took a couple of hours, but we made it back. My wife asked me later, “how is you do that? How can you pull another boat when it’s tough to make progress with your own and you don’t stop?”

I just know that it needs to be done, so I keep paddling. It hurts, but that’s what it takes.

Anybody else run a 5k this weekend?

GoTR 5k

Strong is the new skinny…

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A few days ago gritlikegabrielle posted her thoughts on “Strong is the New Skinny” and why she doesn’t like the phrase. Her post got me thinking.

I’m coming at this from a different perspective. I’m much older. I grew up in a different era. I’m male. I’m a father of daughters. That’s not to say either of us is “correct” or “incorrect.” It’s more that I thought about why I like the phrase and if my perspective affects my viewpoint.

When I was growing up “Skinny” was the only skinny.

Full stop. End of story. In terms of physical beauty skinny was it. Well, big breasts were important to meet the beauty standard, but the rest of the body had to be thin, thin, thin. The common saying was, “You can never be too rich, too thin, or too blonde.”

There was only one way for a woman to be beautiful. Well, according to media standards there was only one way for a woman to be beautiful. She had to be thin. The Heather Locklear’s and Kate Moss’s were skinny to the point of emaciation. Sure, there were a few female bodybuilders like Cory Everson, but they were viewed as oddities.

“Strong” is an interesting word because it is not one-dimensional.  There is physical strength and mental strength and emotional strength… you get to pick your strength. Skinny is clearly one-dimensional. You don’t get to “pick your skinny.” If your ribcage ain’t showing then you ain’t skinny.

Clearly no catchphrase can capture the complexity of a person or an entire gender. That said, we still distill down to these phrases for meaning and motivation.

I’m not saying that it’s a “good” phrase because good is subjective. I am saying that I like it’s message a hell of a lot better than the message that I grew up with, “You can never be too rich, too thin, or too blonde.” Yes, you can be too thin. I think we all know how badly that can play out.

Maybe it’s the CrossFit community in which I am immersed, but I see women actively celebrating that their butt has grown from strength training, that they are curvier, stronger, and feel better. Others choose a different path. Hopefully people are able to choose the path that is right for them.

I like that choosing your own version of body type and strength is more acceptable to the society that my daughters are growing up in. Life is not perfect. The media still bombards girls and women with unreasonable beauty expectations, but “Strong is the new skinny” feels like a step in the right direction – compared to what I saw growing up.

If I can translate Gabrielle’s viewpoint into my own, coarse, vernacular it might be, “Don’t tell me what the fuck to do. I can figure that out on my own.” I love that and hope to help my daughters gain that determinism (they can choose whether not to include the word “fuck”… odds are they will include it due to my poor influence). Maybe we are actually saying the same thing although my words are colored by the society in which I was raised.

Isn’t that the curse of the older generations? We say, “well you should have seen how bad things were back in the old days…..”

Here’s to progress.

12 Rules for Being a Princess – or maybe rules for being a fun person.

as written by my 8 yo daughter (while she was snug in her bed this morning under 15 layers of blankets)

  1. Use your manners.
  2. Be kind to the kingdom
  3. Smile
  4. Dream
  5. Rock the crown
  6. Wish on stars
  7. Keep the castle tidy (and by castle I mean “my room”)
  8. Believe in fairy tales
  9. Curtsy
  10. Listen to grown-ups
  11. Be polite
  12. Give from the heart

I think she’s got it right….

My neck hurts like hell. Thanks Mom!

Seriously folks. My neck really hurts.

I didn’t sleep wrong or hurt it doing some weird kind of head-bob dance move. I don’t dance.

Nope. I hurt it looking up. Granted, I was looking up for several hours. I was not at an air show. I was at a climbing gym.

We have been trying to find something physical that will spark some passion for my oldest daughter. It hasn’t been easy. Soccer, gymnastics, dance, tennis, soccer again…. we tried just about everything that is open to a suburban middle-class family. I mean we tried everything!

Then she asked to have her birthday at a climbing gym. Or maybe my wife suggested it, and my daughter agreed. The spark was immediate. Her friends had fun, but she took it personally. Each route was a challenge.

For Christmas I “gave” her 5 trips to the climbing gym. We would have gone anyway, but making it a gift put a little bit of a shine on it. It also allowed us to buy one less gift.

Since she only weighs 50 pounds she can’t belay my 195# frame, so all of our time at the climbing gym is dedicated to her doing the climbing. I don’t mean an hour or two. I mean 4-5 solid hours of me holding the rope and looking up. It’s hell on my neck, and she refuses to come down until she is 50′ up at the end of the route.

I wish I could count the hours that my mother spent, freezing in the ocean driven fog and mist, in the stands of the Little League field where I played for years and years or the hours spent making sure dinner was ready before driving me to practice at one of many fields. I will never be able to count the hours she invested in my life.

Thanks Mom. Thank you very much.

Daughter told me she “wants to win the Games”

I was incredibly stoked

Then I realized she means

The Hunger Games.

Didn’t try to explain to her that winning the hunger games would require murdering your friends. Kids gotta have goals, right?

I watched my daughter fail – repeatedly – this weekend. Most inspiring thing I’ve seen in a long time

Local climbing gym. Oldest is really getting into climbing. We all start with the same fear, “I can’t fall because I will die.” Falling is scary, really scary. Now she has gotten to the point where falling is nothing. Of course she hates it when she misses a hold, but she is not afraid to fall and be caught by the rope she knows will be there.

2+ hours in, and I ask her what route she wants to climb. She takes me to a really difficult area. It’s not a kid friendly route, but she wants to give it a go. She struggles.

Shocker! She even asks for advice. After learning how to make a dynamic move  – and using 2 such moves she gets to about 10′. She fails.

This is a kid who won’t start a 4 sentence book review until she has “the perfect opening sentence” and will wait for hours until she gets it. She fears failure.

But she swings back to the wall to try again and again. She asks me to lower her so she can try a different tactic. What? Lose precious height that has been gained? Not this child. Yes, this child.

She tries again and again and again, falling every time. Finally I lower her down.

She did not succeed. She did not get above 10′ on this route.

But she is smiling. And laughing. And taking a break, “so we can try that one again.”

I love watching her fail.

and yet not fail at all….