Tag Archives: daughters


13 Mar



letter I’ve written before about that special magic that Mommy has. If it’s a cold, or a boo-boo, or a bad dream, Daddy will do in a pinch. But when push comes to shove, it’s Mommy’s special magic kisses that put the monsters back in the closet and make the skinned knees sting a little less.

Thank goodness my children have that in their lives. I have to admit, it’s a super power that I envy. Certainly we have our roles to play as parents. My wife shows her weakness when the kids need a super geek-out Minecraft session, or discussing the finer nuances of Wookies vs. Ewoks, but all too often it feels like the things DorkDaddies are good at is the *fluff*, where UnDorkMommy is the one to call when things get serious.

You see, my wife is pathologically self-sufficient. She is a fantastic role-model in that way. My kids will grow up knowing that a woman absolutely does not *need* a man to get on in the world. (I won’t get into what that does to a DorkDaddy who pathologically needs to be needed. That’s an entirely different ball of wax.) The bottom line is, very rarely does a situation come along where UnDorkMommy can’t handle it, and she has to call on DorkDaddy to come to the rescue. But in fact that’s just what happened on a recent trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa at the lake.

Episode V and Grandpa having a picnic on the rocks.

Episode V and Grandpa having a picnic on the rocks.

The drought in California has left the water level at Grandma and Grandpa’s lake particularly low, which presents its own opportunities for awesomeness. Episode V got to have a picnic with Grandpa way out in the lake on some rocks that are normally underwater. Episode VI got to have his first walk-out-in-the-water experience with his DorkDaddy. And the big kids got to walk way out under the piers in the mud (and duck sh*t, and dead, rotting fish) to explore all the flotsam and jetsam they couldn’t normally get to.

So c-c-c-cold...

So c-c-c-cold…

And that’s where the problem arose.

It seems that decades ago someone dropped a metal sink (sink?!?!) into the lake and never fished it out. There it sat, festering, among the algae and gunk and bacteria and who knows what else, waiting for my daughter to walk by. From inside the house I heard my father calling for me “Get a wet towel!”

Out under the pier.

Out under the pier.

What in the world? The kids were out in the water, why would he need a wet towel?

I went outside to find this:



I knew enough from my pre-med days as an ER medic that this needed stitches. I got her into the shower and washed all the botulism, e-bola and flesh eating virus out of the cut and confirmed my suspicions about the stitches, so naturally my first instinct was to text UnDorkMommy (who was out grocery shopping, so this one was all on me) “Do you have Episode IV’s insurance card? She’s going to need a couple stitches.”

All wrapped up.

All wrapped up.

But the more we thought about it, the less appealing that idea was to me. I didn’t want to bring my precious little 8yo to an ER in the meth-capitol of California. She’d wind up waiting for hours in the waiting room with the bleeding, puking, drunken, cursing, distressed, belligerent denizens you’d expect to find there. There would be bureaucracy, and paperwork, and waiting, and stress, and a $500 co-pay, all for a procedure I knew damn well would only take 5 minutes.

Two amazing women.

Two amazing women.

If only we knew a doctor in the area.

Wait! *I’M* a doctor!!

I’ve watched literally thousands of sutures placed in my pre-med, ER days. They even teach suture technique in dental school, which I tested out of on my first try because of my ER experience. I know exactly what to do and how to do it. I could *TOTALLY* put the stitches in. (This idea made UnDorkMommy visibly nervous. She gave me the “are you sure” look, but stopped short of actually, verbally questioning my competence.) I even have all the stuff I need in my office (every dental office has it, even if they never use it). But my office is 5 hours away. If only I knew a dentist in this town.



Wait! I *DO* know a dentist in this town!!

One of my favorite instructors from dental school has his private practice in my parents’ town. They are his patients. I know him. He knows me. This could totally work!

So I called his emergency number and, may the dental gods forever smile on him, he opened up his office for me on a Saturday night, set out the equipment I would need, and after I presented him with a bottle of wine in gratitude, told me to just turn out the lights and close the front door when we were done.



I brought with me my mother who has spent her entire professional career as a RN. If there was anything she was meant to do on this Earth it’s care for people. To her credit, despite the fact that the nervous patient was her granddaughter, and the nervous doctor was her son (who has placed precisely 12 sutures in his entire life… 10 on a stretched out shammie, and 2 in a patient’s mouth under the supervision of an instructor in dental school) she flipped right into professional-mode and instinctively made every right decision to keep both patient and doctor calm.

She was amazing, and so was Episode IV.

And I even saved the pedi.

And I even saved the pedi.

I am happy to say that in my entire professional career I have now placed precisely 14 sutures: 10 on a shammie, 2 with an instructor over my shoulder, and two in my daughter’s toe. There was no scary ER for her that night. My daughter will remember being in a safe, calm environment, wrapped up in the arms and listening to the soothing, whispered words of someone who loved her, while her daddy came to her rescue and fixed her boo-boo.

S'mores around the fire-pit and staying up late. Reward for being so brave.

S’mores around the fire-pit and staying up late. Reward for being so brave.

I will remember a very special evening where *I* got to be the superhero for a change, because I was the only one in the house who had the super power we needed to save the day.

1 week later, all healed up. Time to take the stitches out.

1 week later, all healed up. Time to take the stitches out.


-Dork Dad

Signs You’re Raising Your Daughter Right: #17

7 Jan

I may make a hell of a lot of mistakes raising my children, but when my daughter came out with this one over the weekend I knew I was doing something right.




-Dork Dad

Fan Fiction

6 May

letter My daughter is a girl growing up in a boy’s world. I try not to eclipse my wife’s influence with the kids, but let’s be honest – the beacon of my nerdiness shines a little (a lot) brighter than hers. What are the top-tier nerdisms that my family is bathed in? Comic books. Superheroes. Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. Star Wars. Transformers, power tools, Legos, bike riding…

While raising my children I’ve made a point of teaching them that power tools are also for girls, and the kitchen is a great place to be a boy (although my own cooking skills are pathetic… definitely not leading by example here). But my daughter is still a girl, and as she navigates the world she has to find her own role-models, her own superheroes that she can relate to.

In the world of popular culture there are woefully few top-tier female superheroes out there for a girl to latch on to. Think about it. What options are there? Wonder Woman? They haven’t been able to manage a feature film, or even a television series since the Linda Carter days. Princess Leia? The princess herself is cool, but any true fandom leads to an investigation of the actor who plays the character. Have you seen Carrie Fisher lately? She’s a brilliant writer and public speaker… if she can stay sober long enough to string a sentence together.

It's not like we're going to see this movie any time soon.

It’s not like we’re going to see this movie any time soon.

For a girl looking for a hero to identify with the options are pretty slim. <<editor’s note: I should emphasize FANTASY hero, because Episode IV’s mommy is a pretty super-human role-model for any young lady to live up to>> But it seems that our little girl has finally settled on a candidate: Hermione Grainger (from the Harry Potter stories, for the unDorks out there).

Besides a passing physical resemblance, one of Hermione’s characteristics that Episode IV identifies with most is her academic success. We’re four books into the Harry Potter series and in every one Hermione is showered with praise as “the most gifted witch in her class” and she gets special favors from her professors because of it. My daughter also thrives in school, and lives off of the accolades that she gets there. Hermione excels at school where others struggle, and she’s always the voice of mature reason when Harry and Ron are about to do something stupid. Episode IV has two dopey younger brothers for whom she, like Hermione, often takes on the “responsible adult” role. Hermione avoids mischief when she can, but she also knows that once in a while a little mischief is necessary – and when she does it, she excels at it. If anything Episode IV is a little less averse to mischief than Hermione might be. In short, when my daughter sees Hermione, she sees herself.


Episode IV is also the sort of person who is constantly peaking behind the curtain. She loves the fantasy, but she never forgets that it’s actually fantasy. She always wants to know “how do they do that” when we’re watching movies. This line of thought naturally leads her to investigate the actor behind the character, and in this regard she relates even more. Emma Watson, at least publically, is a classy, well spoken, beautiful, educated young woman. She seems to have escaped the trappings of childhood fame. I’d much rather have my daughter cast her gaze in that direction, rather than… say… Kristen Stewart.

Friday afternoon Episode IV looked up at me and with frustration in her voice said “Daddy, I just… I wish…” She couldn’t find the words, but clearly there was something just below the surface she needed to get out. “Daddy… someday can I be in a Harry Potter movie?”

“Well, you never know, honey” I responded. “But I don’t think they’re going to be making any more Harry Potter movies for a very long time. They’ve already made all the books into movies.”

Her brow furrowed, stymied by the realities of the world that are beyond her control. But my daughter is nothing if not tenacious.

Saturday morning I woke up to find her hard at work at her art table, which in-and-of itself is nothing special. 1st graders have a lot of pent-up, creative energy they need to exercise. We’ve got stacks and stacks of her artwork we can’t bring ourselves to throw away. I stumbled through the morning, getting my coffee, getting the boys taken care of, figuring out the schedule for the day – the usual. Then from across the house at her art table I heard Episode IV say “There, Daddy. I’m done!”

What exactly had my academically precocious, Hermione-identifying 1st grade daughter done with her Saturday morning? It seems she had written a book, by which I mean a full-on book, complete with cover, title, illustrations, a table of contents, chapters and nuanced plot-points.

On her own, my daughter had written a Harry Potter book. She gleefully explained to me how Lucious Malfoy was the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher, and how Hermione and Ron were keeping a secret from Harry that had something to do with his parents. She was all-in. She was invested. She poured everything she had into this brand new chapter in the Harry Potter saga…

…for the exclusive purpose of making another movie that she could star in as Hermione.

Take that, world where things are beyond her control. She wasn’t going to let a little thing like no-more-books get in her way. Bam! Now all we need is a director, studio-backing, and a sound stage.

I flipped through the book, amazed. This was incredible even for her sky-high standards. “That’s amazing, honey” I said. “I mean really. Wow.”

“Thanks, Daddy” she replied. “Can we make the movie now?”

-Dork Dad

A Brief Brief on Briefs

19 Feb

letter In October of 2012, Tom Burns over at 8bitdad.com blew the roof off of the girls underwear industry by declaring that he buys boys briefs for his daughter “so that she can wear the characters she’s interested in”. Apparantly “Brave” and “Hello Kitty” hold the lion’s share of the shelf space at supermarkets, leaving little room for superheros. Is you might imagine, the story touched a nerve and was quickly distributed through the entire interwebs by The Good Men Project and Huffington Post. People were espeically vocal about the issue. Burns wrote:

Largely, I’ve been pleased with the debate the article inspired, including over  800 comments at Huffington Post. (I’ve been less happy with the comments  alleging that my underwear permissiveness has forever transformed my daughter  into a sissified deviant, but I’ve been on the internet long enough to  expect—and mildly enjoy—that kind of reaction.)


Naturally efforts were made to follow up with marketing representatives from Target, Walmart and their ilk… with little to no response. Superheros haven’t been represented in the girls underwear industry since the good old Underoos days. But enough ruckus was made that eventually Fruit of the Loom reached out to Burns to let him know that they’d heard the complaints and had recently licensed for producing DC character themed girls underwear, and would launch the line in January of 2013. Although the launch was briefly delayed, they did eventually release their girls superohero underwear for online orders in February…

…and sold out in 24 hours.

Naturally Fruit of the Loom recalculated and have restocked their wearhouse. If your daughter is into superheros, you can buy your little superheroine all the non-Hello-Kitty briefs she wants/needs at this link right here.


As irony would have it I approached my 6-year-old daughter and asked her “Hey honey, would you like me to get you some girls superhero underwear?”

“Um, no thanks Daddy. I like the underwear I have.”

Ah well. At least she was honest.

429241_10150601404267285_1159265785_nI’m not generally an “activist” about most things, but when it comes to empowering my daughter to be whoever she wants to be, gender roles or no, I’m all over this one. The good news is there’s no shortage of superhero underwear in the boys aisle. My son has ’em all. It doesn’t look like I’ll have to buy girls underwear for him to wear.

And incidentally, if you’re looking for other sources to outfit your young feminine superhero, head on over to SuperheroStuff.com. They’re fantastic about stocking merchandise for little girls.


-Dork Dad

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