Weight Concerns at Six?


weight concerns at 6?


One of the things that I admire the most about my youngest, that I’m sometimes a bit jealous of, is her self esteem. There are times when it can border on arrogance, cute at six years old, potentially problematic as she gets older, but better than the alternative. Multiple studies have shown that seven out of ten teenage girls have a negative view of themselves, believe that they don’t measure up to how they perceive that they should be. Once formed these feelings of inadequacy are difficult to dispel. Despite our best efforts it’s something that I know the teenager has struggled with at times, something that I had vowed to try and do a better job of identifying earlier if her sister ever felt the same.

What I hadn’t realized is at how young of an age I needed to start my vigilance.

Many times these self image problems revolve around weight. Not actual weight, but how the individual perceives his or her body image and shape versus what they believe it should be. When I was sixteen I hated taking my shirt off at the beach because my ribs showed, ten years ago I would have hesitated because of my massive beer belly. I’m thirty pounds lighter than I was then but last year my daughter still asked when she was going to grow boobs like I had. I think it’s a struggle that many of us can understand.

I can understand it, but I was still shocked and saddened last week when the six year old asked if she could go down into the basement and use the exercise equipment there. She wanted to exercise not because she wanted to wanted to jump around with a calisthenic routine on the Wii or practice her ninja moves on the heavy bag, but because she wanted to lose weight.

My daughter is not a small girl. She’s not fat, actually is very healthy. She plays sports, hikes, rides her bike. We try and encourage physical activity and healthy eating as much as possible. When two of her friends came over this weekend, I was very pleased that they spent three of the four play date hours outside.

We try, but the fact is that this kid loves to eat. She had rotisserie chicken, potatoes, and apple for dinner tonight, but the amount of each that she had was both concerning and somewhat impressive.

She doesn’t think that she is fat, is not yet burdened by insecurity or a desire to meet society’s standards. She wants to lose weight, but also to gain muscle mass in her arms, the better to carry her body weight across the monkey bars, one final playground challenge that she has yet to conquer.

She doesn’t think that, and it’s my job to try and keep it that way. My job to encourage exercise and smart food choices, but also self-acceptance and confidence.  It’s a job that starts much earlier than I realized it would.





Church and State


Some things just shouldn’t be mixed together.  Bleach and vinegar, toasters and tubs, anger and texting, diamond rings and half priced well drinks from five to eight. Religion and politics.

Along with debt avoidance and a search for new resources to exploit, the fleeing of religious persecution was a major motivator for many of those that first traveled across the Atlantic to land here in the New World. Upon arrival some of these settlers then proceeded to persecute anybody that didn’t conform with their puritanical views and the Salem Witch Trails were a pretty dark moment in American history, but the concept of The United States as a place of freedom of worship dates back to the very beginning.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” When the Bill of Rights was adapted in 1791 this concept became a central tenet of the First Amendment. Worship whatever deity you choose, but keep it out of government.

It’s important to note that I have no prejudices against organized religion. I understand that it is a very important part of many people’s lives, providing them with security, peace and comfort in a time when those things can be hard to come by. I was involved in my church youth group as a child, Amy Grant was the first concert I ever attended, and when the teenager was interested in exploring her faith we spent many Sunday mornings attending together. Her little sister loves to sing and when she is a bit older and I’m confident she can read the hymn lyrics instead of making up her own at full volume we may again try to find a congregation that we are comfortable with.

When we do, it will be a church that looks like this.


church and state


The problem with religion is that it is often tribal, the congregation of people who all share the same beliefs, both about what is right, but also about what is wrong. For those that live a life outside of these communal morals, there is often little mercy.

It has no place in the government of a nation that is supposed to pride itself in it’s diversity, it’s embracement of all.

I don’t want to hear Ted Cruz say that “any President who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander in chief of this nation”, even if I’m just assuming he’s referring to prayer.

I don’t want to see our actual President tweeting out things like this:



In my America we worship freedom. The freedom to be who you are, to not have to conform to somebody else’s ideas and beliefs.

I expect those making decisions on my behalf to follow the rational, the analytical, not the ideological of theoretical. Federal, state and municipal governments have different responsibilities to myself and my family that I expect them to meet.

The eventual fate of our souls isn’t one of them.



The Good Guys Don’t Always Win


Sometimes the best intentions have unintended consequences. As I’ve mentioned, the youngest has had a hard time in her transition to “big girl soccer”, learning the different positions and their responsibilities. Master strategist that I am, I used a checkerboard and checkers to demonstrate where each player was supposed to be positioned. I explained that each goal was a castle, that some knight’s jobs were to guard the castle, others were to attack the bad guy’s castle. It seemed brilliant.

It seemed brilliant, but I had forgotten one of the best things about being six years old. The reasons she never gets upset at the cliffhanger endings to Supergirl, doesn’t get scared watching Star Wars or the new Thor movie ( very good by the way ).

She still believes that the good guys always win in the end.

It led to a bit of backtracking, that dance all parents are familiar with when we forget how literally a young child can take our words. I explained that the other team weren’t really “bad guys”, just girls from another town that were a bit older than her, a bit bigger and faster, had a bit more practice. The only time she was really angry during her win less season was actually after a scrimmage, a joint practice with the boys team that led to a temporary reevaluation of who ruled and who drooled.


big girl soccer
headed the right way


I’m often jealous of that perspective, that view of the world where the good and bad guys are so clearly delineated.

The real world is so much different, so much more complicated. It’s a bleak landscape of grey, subtle differences in shade open to the interpretation of the viewer. It’s been a full year since the election and we remain a country that is still trying to ignore this reality. Two sides each convinced that they are the good guys, politicians trying to appease fringe bases while those in the ideological middle, those that just want everybody to get along and be nice to each other, are ignored.


the good guys dont always win
sign of the times


She enjoyed this soccer season. She played hard, had fun. She learned sportsmanship and dignity in defeat, all the things that make youth sports great. We would have liked to have won a game, but I guess there is a lesson there as well.

Sometimes the best intentions have unintended consequences. Sometimes hard work and effort aren’t going to be enough. The good guys don’t always win.


Thor: Ragnarok is full of conflicted characters. Other than the titular hero and Hela, the Goddess of Death, (spoiler alert: she’s the bad guy) everyone else is flawed but ultimately make the right choices.

Maybe that’s what I should be teaching her. That in the end the most important thing is trying her best, trying to do the right thing as she determines it. To recognize the grey but to remain optimistic that in the end there is enough good in people that things are going to be OK. That there are many more Lokis out there than Thors but the good guys still win enough that we can never stop fighting.

It works in the movies.




My Random Musings

What Kind of Man Do I Want For Them?


We’re not supposed to look at things differently after having daughters. Brock Turner, Harvey Weinstein, income inequality and the new war against access to contraception and the right to choose. These things should outrage any man, regardless of the gender of their child.

We’re not supposed to but we do, and I think that is OK. I think that when we have someone that we love we begin to imagine them in that position, that it becomes more personal, more real. My heart aches for the victims and families of Las Vegas but it will never match the devastation that I felt after Sandy Hook. Every time I looked at my little girl’s face in the days following that tragedy I saw their faces and I cried.

That’s right, I’m a man and I cried. Must be some kind of pussy or something.

It’s something that I’ve been called before.

Fifteen years ago I was in a several year long relationship that ended somewhat amicably but didn’t stay that way. Her next boyfriend was an older biker, a gang member in a Hell’s Angels affiliate and embodied just about every stereotype that might immediately bring to mind. It was hard to argue when reminded how much more “manly” he was than me.


a real man?
not an actual picture, but pretty close


I have no idea what happened to them, no desire to know.

But I worry about my girls, about what sort of men might be in their future. How “manly” they might be. So far the teenager’s choices have been varied, no particular type that I can ascertain other than all being horrible choices. The six year old just likes to fight, her “boyfriends” so far being the boys that like to wrestle at recess. She might have a bit of her mother in her in that regard.

What do I want for them?


be the man


I’ve seen this meme a lot, also seen it criticized a lot. They are legitimate criticisms.  Should it really be that hard just to be that kind of man anyway? To be kind and generous and loving? Do we really need to make it personal, to have to visualize someone we care about to not be shitty people?

I don’t know. Probably not.

I like to think that I’ve always been a pretty good guy. I know that there are many who would disagree with that assessment.

I like to think that after meeting my current wife, helping to raise her daughter and having one of my own that I’ve become even better. I know that there are many who would disagree with that assessment.

The question is : am I the type of guy that I would want my daughters to be with, to marry? When I look in the mirror is this what I would want for them?

I think so.

Somebody handier around the house would be good, somebody that fixes stuff, can change their own oil or hammer in a nail halfway straight. I want somebody that will tell them they love them as often as I tell them, not as often as I tell my wife. Somebody a little quicker to say “I’m sorry” or admit when they are wrong.

As a parent the number one thing that I want for my girls is for things to be better. For everything to be better. My life has been pretty damn good up until now. I want theirs to be better.

I’ve been with my wife for almost thirteen years, been married for just over nine. Over that time I can look in the mirror and tell myself that I’ve always tried my best. I can look in that same mirror and know that it always hasn’t always been good enough.

Is that what I want for my girls?

Of course not.

I want better.



Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
DIY Daddy

Discovering Downtown


I’ve always tried to make a conscious effort to support small businesses as much as I could. I spend a considerable amount of time and money in Target, but I use a regional bank, eat at privately owned restaurants instead of chains whenever possible, and buy most of our hay and bunny food at a small pet shop downtown instead of the more conveniently located PetCo.

This weekend made me realize that as self-congratulatory as these efforts are I should be trying harder.

We weren’t downtown for alfalfa or to visit the tattoo parlor, the two most common reasons we’d visit that area, but in the pursuit of candy. Saturday afternoon the businesses on Main Street handed out treats to the several hundred costumed children filing their way up and down crowded sidewalks. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, another opportunity for Alaina to wear this year’s outfit and another half dozen or so Kit Kats claimed by me as tariff.


scarecrow kingdom


It was also a brilliant marketing move, a way to raise awareness of a pretty diverse group of shops and eateries that many people, myself included, might not be aware of.  Among the places that were either new or I was just unaware of were a music shop, a jewelry store, a store selling handmade artisan gifts and decor that I will admittedly never walk into and a collectibles shop with racks of comic books that I can’t wait to visit. There is a steampunk themed coffee shop with table games and another coffee shop with rooms full of used books for sale.


support downtown


Most surprising was that the second floor of one of the large downtown buildings had been converted into three “escape rooms”, a new mystery solving trend where groups of people try and solve increasingly difficult puzzles in order to “escape.” Friends of mine from other parts of the country have been talking about these for a while now and I’m thrilled that I won’t have to travel far to try it out.


support downtowns


When I was a kid “downtown” was a single roomed general store with a gas station across the street at our town’s only stop light. “Main street” was the last stretch of dirt road leading to my friend’s horse farm where we would stage old-west style shoot outs. Whenever I traveled to an actual city I knew this to be the area I needed to find for bars and restaurants.

If you have one of these areas in your community and haven’t been in a while, do yourself a favor and check it out. You might be surprised by what you find there.


Fall Is For Foodies


Adventures with girls, from preschool to proms