Pickie the Pixie

Tattoos have been around for centuries and getting a tattoo inspired by your children or your favorite book is nothing new. of course it’s no surprise a few of my tattoos are directly connected to my sons and Harry Potter.

My most recent tattoo is just as special to me as the other ones I’ve gotten that were dedicated to my sons. The first time I visited the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Stephanie and I were walking out after a long hot day and as we pass a shelf loaded with stuffed animals and other HP merchandise, Jax starts pointing and laughing uncontrollably. He was pointing at the blue Cornish Pixie hanging on the shelf… so of course we bought it for him. He still has it to this day… so I got his Pixie (that he calls Pickie) on my inner arm.

Im about 2/3 of the way finished with my Potter sleeve, with a few directly representing my sons.

I of course had some ink done dedicated to my first after he was born.  I decided on a meaningful representation of father and son taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [short story] “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” The story’s moral is that you should live life for the right reasons: love and those you love. The youngest brother in the story youngest brother was a humble man asked for a thing that he could use to live a long and happy life.  One in which he was allowed to see his child grow. He was given a cloak of invisibility. And thus because of this he attained a great age and passed The Cloak of Invisibility to his son. I was happy to get a tattoo representing a moment that every father dreams of… Passing down something (knowledge, skill, an invisibility cloak) to their child which will ensure he will live long, happy and successful live.

When I decided it was time to get a tattoo honoring my newest little man it was obvious it would be something related to his name, Oliver, and also had to have some connection to Harry Potter. The olive branch [above] has a very symbolic meaning which made it the perfect choice both references. The Olive Branch symbolizes a beginning of a new life and in the Harry Potter story, Oliver Wood is the first Quidditch player we meet, he’s the keeper and captain of the Gryffindor team and one of my favorite characters in the story.

Do you have a tattoo inspired by your child(ten) or of Harry Potter? Post in the comments!

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:

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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:

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

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

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

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

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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:
  1. https://www.fatherly.com/play/father-builds-replica-cupboard-under-stairs-harry-potter/
  2. https://www.popsugar.com/moms/Dad-Re-creates-Harry-Potter-Cupboard-Under-Stairs-44489977
  3. https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/everything-kids/dad-recreated-the-cupboard-under-the-stairs-from-harry-potter/
  4. http://www.scarymommy.com/harry-potter-cupboard-under-stairs-reading-nook/
  5. https://www.babble.com/parenting/peter-fragola-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs/
  6. https://www.purewow.com/news/dad-recreates-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs
  7. http://www.yuryz.com/youve-got-to-see-this-dads-harry-potter-inspired-cupboard-under-the-stairs/
  8. https://www.simplemost.com/dad-remakes-harry-potter-cupboard-under-stairs/
  9. https://www.beano.com/posts/someones-dad-has-given-their-cupboard-under-the-stairs-a-harry-potter-makeover
  10. https://www.thebump.com/news/dad-builds-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs
  11. http://www.cluebees.com/more/just-in/this-father-recreated-the-Harry-Potters-room
  12. http://diply.com/dad-creates-harry-potter-cupboard?publisher=different-solutions&config=21
  13. http://helenair.com/lifestyles/simplemost/dad-recreated-harry-potter-s-cupboard-under-the-stairs-for/article_2de9793e-d097-5a08-b5e8-5c9811c4dac1.html
  14. http://www.morefm.co.nz/home/trending/2018/01/dad-builds-sons-the-perfect-harry-potter-reading-corner-under-th.html
  15. https://vipleyo.com/america/baby/2018/01/11/this-dads-harry-potter-cupboard-under-the-stairs-is-all-sorts-of-amazing/
  16. https://www.magicmum.com/dads-recreation-of-harry-potters-room-is-what-dreams-are-made-of/http://www.morefm.co.nz/home/trending/2018/01/dad-builds-sons-the-perfect-harry-potter-reading-corner-under-th.html
  17. http://harrypotter.trendolizer.com/2018/01/dad-recreated-the-cupboard-under-the-stairs-from-harry-potter-for-his-sons.html
  18. http://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/parenthood/dads/dad-builds-a-potteresque-cupboard-under-the-stairs-and-we-want-one/news-story/d5feb87822f3f27eb077b51b46425c93

Making (tiny) Moves

This kid is making moves. He is fast… really, really fast. Listen I know fast… I ran track. I was a sprinter. And on top of that… I move a million miles a minutes everyday, there’s no slow motion for me ever. This kid though… he’s Usain Bolt.

He’s huge… he’s fast… he’s smart… hes relentless… he’s the next Bo Jackson… he’s going to be a multi-sport star… He’s going to be dominating kids twice his age, I’m surprised he isn’t already a three way star on the high school varsity teams here in town.

Be prepared ESPN the next sports prodigy is coming for you.

⭐️ 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. 

Decisions

You know it’s funny… All of our friends are starting to have kids and/or already have kids and we joke around and pretend that when they grow up they’re going to get married. We say things like we’re going to arrange their marriage or we sit here and take all these cute pictures of them.   

But the scary thing is at some point these kids are going to grow up and have to start make decisions on their own. It’s so insane how every single small decision you make in your life can literally have consequences and/or a ripple effect throughout time. How do you teach a child the fact that something he does when he’s seven years old, or 18 years old, or 27 years old, or 35 years old can have a lasting effect on not only him but everyone else he comes in contact with?  How do you teach that to a child who right now would literally eat a Lego for dinner if I let him? 

You want nothing but the best for your children and you want to help guide them so that they make the best possible decisions in their life. But how do you do that when you’re not sure about your own decisions in your own life? How do you help a child through the inquiry process that is life? How do you help a child figure out that trial and error is not always the easiest way and it’s not always going to help you get the answer that you really want?  

I want to solve problems for him. I want to help him find the right puzzle piece. I want to help him turn the pages of the book when he struggles with his fine motor skills. I want to help him turn on a toy when he can’t figure out where the on/off switch is.

The thing is I’m an educator and I understand that you’re not always supposed to find the right answer… sometimes you’re supposed to find the way to the right answer. But how do you do that? How do you exactly work on the process of getting to the right decision when you’re not sure what the right decision is?

How do I decide if he should go to daycare or if I should home school him? How do I decide when something is wrong and I should contact my pediatrician? How do I decide when it’s just something developmental as opposed to something he’s actually struggling with? Where do you draw the line? where do you decide that you actually can’t make an educated decision because you’re too involved in the actual situation?

I feel like I have the knowledge and experiences to make these kind of decisions in the best interest of everyone involved but I struggle to actually “pull the trigger.” Where does experience, knowledge and book smarts stop and your heart take over? When you know something may really be wrong and you know what the right decision has to be, but you feel like you can’t actually do it?

Sometimes people say the best way to figure out what to do is to take a chance… do things that you think might bring on the best results… take a chance even though it might be against what other people are saying… do the things that deep down you know are the right things to do.  

Being a parent sucks… you know why it sucks… because I can’t even make decisions for myself and I’ve had 36 years of experience in knowing what I like and what I don’t like… what works and what doesn’t work… And I still literally can’t make a decision on the most absolutely ridiculously, simplest things in life… “Do I want the dress shirt that has thin purple stripes or thick purple stripes?” That question shouldn’t take me four weeks and three returns to make… And then I have this little person in front of me who needs help… who needs me to support him in every way possible. He needs to me to make sure that he’s getting the The right amount of sleep… that he’s getting the right amount of food… that I’m choosing the right books to read to him and that we choose the right experiences for him.

I hope one day that he doesn’t feel that his parents inhibited him in his decision making… that he has the right state of mind and the right support and background to make the decisions that he knows are best for him. I hope that the decisions I make for him are going to be the best decisions possible for him… The ones that will help him develop into the person that I know he can be…. The ones that I know will help him maneuver through a world that can be so incredibly cruel, but at the same time can be so incredibly rewarding. 

The Worst Parenting Related Super Bowl Commercials

  1. Coke: “Make it Happy”

Today’s buzz word is BULLYING.  Everywhere you turn bullying, bullying, bullying.  It is a societal epidemic.  Schools are riddled with children who are afraid to be themselves and Coke all of a sudden has a solution?  Nope, not going to happen.  Don’t put any onus on the bully, just drink coke and life is great!  This had a chance to do something good.. .but instead it was just empty promises from a company who gives kids cavities and diabetes, not ways to deal with bullying.

  1. Nissan: “With Dad”

First of all, this wasn’t even a commercial; it was a full length feature film.  Premise of a son torn between happiness for his successful dad and resentment for his absent father?  Again… we might have something here… I thought the dad might die in a crash or something and the son would think about the time he missed out on with his dad especially with “Cats in the Cradle” playing in the background. I was invested in this one… I thought this one had it all.  All that was missing here was Jack telling Rose farewell in the frozen Atlantic.  But then the ad ends with the dad picking up the son in a Nissan… that’s it?  I feel like this ad did the reverse of what it was trying to do… selfish dad comes around only when it’s convenient to him. There was definitely some hidden propaganda in this one, I’m just not sure what it was.

  1. Nationwide: “Make Safe Happen”

Just throwing death in our faces during the Super Bowl?  If there was ever a perfect time for Ron Burgundy’s quote “Well that escalated quickly” this was it!  I get the premise of the ad… yet… not sure the message was delivered appropriately, and definitely wasn’t delivered in the right setting.   There are better avenues to educate parents on keeping their children safe and Nationwide decides to use the Super Bowl which is a time away from reality for so many people. The Super Bowl?  The FREAKING SUPER BOWL?  You chose the Super Bowl to kill a child?  If I wasn’t already freaked out enough about my son starting to crawl… you literally killed a little boy in front of our eyes!   Nationwide says they created this ad to get everyone “talking.”  Well you did just that… we’re talking about how much we hate you Nationwide.  If this commercial makes you want to buy Nationwide insurance, then I literally loathe you more than this commercial itself.