Last Man Standing

Percentage of where my son’s puke wound up after leaving his body:

18% brand new NY Yankees comforter
22% newly cleaned carpeted floor
3% bucket for puking in
5% on Max (approximately 3% of which was licked off by Buster)
45% down my back
5% my arm
2% himself


I consider myself to be an expert… a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to father-son bonding time… camping, fishing and working on cars. No I’m just kidding I don’t do any of those things. But watching Yankees and Packers games, reading Harry Potter books and making pancakes? Check, check, check and check! There are not many things I’ve missed. But honestly most of my father-son bonding is just plain old father-son time. Just spending time is time enough for me.

The thing about having kids though… sometimes when you think you’ve seen it all… sometimes that’s when they can surprise you the most. Sometimes, every so often, they do something so out of the blue that you just have to sit back in awe trying to find the right words to describe what just happened.

When I went to bed last night, I never could have imagined the special experience waiting for me before I even hit my REM sleep. It was a new bonding experience to say the least.

As my eyes began feeling like lead weights and my eye lids could not hold themselves open for one more second… I heard the cry, “Daaaaaaadddddddyyyyyy. I cleaned many messes in my day, and I’ve prepared myself for most of them knowing what I was getting myself into before even seeing it. But nothing would ever prepare me for the chunks that were blown all over me.

This event. This night I’m sure… will haunt me for the rest of my life.  At one point there was just two of us who had survived PUKE-AGEDDON. Now there just one.

There are not enough words to express what happened to me, to Jax… and in a broader context what happened to our house. It wasn’t what I would consider a “normal” bonding experience… hell anytime you get puked on, its not “normal.”  Then again parenting in and of itself rewrites the book on what “normal” really looks like.  Getting thrown up on at 2:00am, and just persevering through it, acting like you’ve been there before…

Maybe getting puked on is the new normal… maybe its not even the new normal… maybe its just my NORMAL, it is at least a normal bonding experience between my son and I at this point… Where else besides college is getting puked on par for the course?



Oliver’s First Steps

There’s something to be said about a child’s first steps. It’s a new dawn, both for the child and for the adults. It’s both exciting and scary. It’s also hilarious. Watching a child take their first steps is like watching a penguin walk across a frozen lake.

They know it’s going to be a dangerous few steps… their body and more importantly gravity is telling them not to do it… but that darn penguin I mean child throws caution to the wind and takes his first step towards their destination. The similarities to a child’s first steps and the “penguin walk” are glaring: Extended wings (er… I mean arms) out to the side, slightly bent knees, and then the side to side shuffle as they move forward (rather than taking big steps). All of this helps penguins and children maintain their center of gravity during their treacherous hike across a massive glacier or in Oliver’s case the living room.

What does this all mean? In reality… for parents with an almost four year old and now a second walker… it means back into full on man to man coverage. No more cheating off Oliver to give double-coverage to Jax… it means everything needs to be boarded up again. Stairs, doors and windows. And with the way this meatball moves, fast and with a purpose he’s more like a wrecking ball then an infant.

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Here’s a hilarious story about Jackson’s first steps and my attempt to “walk for the first time again!!!!”

15 Minutes of Fame

What a few weeks. Your neighborhood Dad Blogger became the newest viral sensation. I was a Kardashian (minus 40 billion dollars). I was Barstool Sports when they hit it big. I was everywhere you turned… no, but really.. it was fun while it lasted:

independant record

The number of online articles, magazines, newspapers and news outlets that picked up the story was amazing.  Some wanted interviews and others just a few quotes about the project, but it was a lot of fun feeling famous for a few minutes! (and let’s face it nothing beats being the #1 best blog on “Stairs”).

Besides having a bunch of great articles written about the project, there were just as many amazing comments on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest:

Going viral isn’t always a good thing… just look at whats happening with… well anyone who does something stupid on Facebook Live or Twitter… but in this case… going viral was pretty cool… it definitely provided me with a way to connect with people all over the world that I would otherwise not have been able to.  New Harry Potter fans and a lot of new readers on the blog are a direct result of this project… which is pretty cool!

Some of the Facebook posts had literally hundreds of thousands of interactions:


The “Love What Matters” post and article has had over 10,000 unique interactions



My original post on my Facebook account (where all the hoopla started) has had over 3,000 likes and shares.


After the Parents Magazine article, they posted the video review of the project which has had over 120,000 views.


People from everywhere were commenting on the project.  The world was my oyster for about two weeks…

The shaded areas show where Chronicles of a New Dad was viewed in the few days after the Cupboard Under the Stairs blog was published. (Darker the color the more views there were
Here are links to some of the better articles and interviews that were written:

⭐️ A Star Is Born ⭐️

The time has finally come. That time that every parent fears: their child’s school performance/play. I’ve seen so many of them as a teacher and principal and they, from that side are amazing. An opportunity to see 300 students whom you work with each day, who’ve you’ve seen grow abs improve each day, put it all together and show off their growth.  

Growth mindset, that’s what it’s all about as an educator. But as a parent. We want to see the end product. We want to see an end product from start to finish and then get the heck out of there. I don’t want to watch everyone else’s kids spin around in circles, or cry on stage. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. You feel bad for the teachers who have to don the kindergarten Three Little Pigs costume and be the only ones up on the stage to know the lyrics and Dane moves. There’s the parents who are standing just off to the side yelling stage directions to their child who they feel should be acting on the next Nick Jr. Hit show and you as the parent who’s just happy your kid hasn’t run off stage and peed in the bushes.  

Then there is the fact that you’ve worked a full day and have nothing in your stomach but a granola bar and three cups of coffee. All you want is every performance to last just long enough to snap a few pictures to stick on Instagram and time it so perfectly that it looks like your child knew every part of the play. Then you can set it as your profile picture on Facebook so it looks like you have the next Robert Deniro on your hands. The worst part though… the transition time in between class performances. Class A runs around the stage, the poor teachers looking like Rocky chasing that chicken. They might as well be herding cats. Poor Class B is having kids who are screaming and crying dragged onto stage so their parents can clap and wave. It’s painful to watch as 17 hours pass in between songs when all the audience wants is a smooths and quick transition like when Netflix only makes you only wait five seconds to watch the next episode. No time wasted, no one hurt, one class off… the next one on… everyone’s happy.  

However, there’s always that one child. The show-stealer, the ray of light, the savior. You know right away that they are meant to be on that stage… to bring entertainment to the masses. To bring joy and happiness to the masses as soon he/she takes the stage. It usually happens after a lull in the show. Maybe a few classes performed a nursery rhyme or too… maybe they just stood still and smiled. But then it happens… a child comes from the clouds and struts his stuff right to center stage. You can tell from that twinkle in their eyes that something special is about to happen. Then you hear the intro. The beat drops like your at an old school Notorious BIG concert. It’s the Lion King… you instantaneously know that child is going to put on a show like no other. “I just can’t wait to be king…” the perfect metaphor for what is about to go down. The king of the Pre-School Play is about to dominate the make shift stage in the center of the parking lot. 

… and that’s just what happens. It just so happens that the new king of the stage was my little boy. Jackson “Fred Astaire” Fragola. It started off slowly, and I could hear the crowd starting to chat amongst themselves. Then it happened, Jax sensing the crowd was in need of something to cheer for, stepped forward and put on a show for the ages. 

The slow clap to get the crowd going, followed by the slow spin into the toe-tap (trip over his own feet) was stunning. The crowd began to buzz and you could see the adrenaline coursing through our new star’s veins. Our savior was here. The clouds parted. The bass seemed to get louder and the energy in the crowd was equal to a stadium full of tween girls at a Justin Bieber concert. 

A few more moves brought ohhhs and ahhhs… and then it happened. The half turn, the look-back smile… and the then… THE RUMP SHAKER! It was over, right then and there. He had officially taken over. The crowd lost their collective minds. It was pandemonium… 

…And then… just as quickly as it started, it all came to an end. With Jazz Hands and a smile… it was at that moment a true star was born. 

Survey Says…

Everyday is a sunny day because of you.

Those of you that read this blog religiously (hell let’s face it, those of you who have read this blog once or twice) know that my take here isn’t to publicize my opinions on the rights or wrongs on raising a child, nor is it for me to take a stand on recent events or political ideologies currently in the media… I’m more of a “can you believe this actually happened” kind of writer… a mediocre story teller if you will.

With that in mind, I recently read an article that was sent to me about the relationship between parenting and happiness. The article was based on two schools of thought. The first based in part on a 2004 study by Nobel prize-winning economist Danny Kahneman in which he stated that academia has long believed that parenting “is a driver of unhappiness.” The studies conducted and reviewed don’t necessarily say that parenting makes you unhappy, but that parenting doesn’t actually make you happier. Part of the study surveyed almost 1000 parents and found that child care ranked sixteenth in pleasurability out of nineteen activities. (Among things they preferred to parenting: preparing food, watching TV, exercising, talking on the phone, napping, shopping, housework).  HOUSEWORK!!!!!!

I mean don’t get me wrong there are times where I wish I could just binge watch an entire season of The Wire without having to hear my son tell me he wants to watch Bubble Guppies or that he wants some more apple juice. But to say that my life hasn’t been improved by having my son around would be ludicrous.

Maybe it’s not perfect every second, but as a whole, evaluating what my son has ADDED to my life is immeasurable. In a 2013 interview NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, says “there’s a difference between happiness measured on a moment-to-moment level and happiness measured at a larger level”. No cleaning puke and potty training does not rank up there with seeing your favorite band live in concert and certainly pales in comparison to eating ice cream out of the container and watching a whole movie on Netflix without interruption. But, according to Vedantam, parents report “significantly more meaning in their lives than non-parents even though on a day-to-day basis parenting may be a grind.”

I guess for me, I really don’t need any scientific research or studies to tell me my life is infinitely better since my son was born. Then again it’s nice to know that there is some consensus of how stressful parenting can be… but overall how absolutely rewarding it can be as well.

Elton John said it perfectly: “I hope you don’t mind… That I put down in words… How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

Credit: Does Having Children Make You Happier? February 2013.

What I Want You to Know

As we consider the possibility of sending Jackson to daycare here the four questions that were asked of us:

What are the 3 things you want your child to learn from our center:  Compassion, inquiry, problem solving

What are your child’s favorite things: His Blankie and his brothers Buster and Max

What is the one thing about your child we should know?:   He probably won’t ever know who takes care of him when he is 19 months old… He might not remember you by name… But he will remember you none the less. He will remember how you act, your body language and the tone of your voice. He won’t ever forget how you make him feel. 

What do you expect from your child care center? Communication, Positive role models, and not sending him home with the wrong parent