Monday, June 8, 2009

The only Man she needs

It was a daddy’s night out. After watching the Lakers make the Orlando Magic disappear during the NBA finals, a couple of us young dads went out to celebrate. I don’t know what it is about being a die-hard fan and watching your team just crush an opponent, but it got us in the mood to see women on stage slowly take articles of clothing off their bodies while dancing/climbing on a pole. We were going to a Strip club. Now is going to a Gentlemen’s club wrong? Maybe; is it a waste of money? Definitely; but it is also a space where guys bond in a way uniquely from any other place. Before you get offended and stop reading here, I’d like to point out that this post is not meant to defend or justify our choice to take part in an experience that openly degrades women and financially exploits men’s lustful inclinations, but to share a conversation I had with an employee of said establishment which resulted in a theory. I believe that some mothers project their dissatisfaction with their male partners towards their sons and raise them to be their ideal partner versus their ideal child.

Her name was Diamond and she started walking in my direction. I was getting a little bored so I left my friends who were near the stage and I went off to the side to watch the replay of the game from earlier that evening. It’s funny how seeming to be by yourself in a club like that brings so much more attention your way. I was preparing myself to let her down gently, when she pitched me her pick up line. “Are you ready for a lap dance?” Diamond said. “No I’m ok,” I told her. “It’s only 10 dollars and I’ll make it a good one,” she persisted. “No thank you,” I responded.

On a side note, it’s such a role reversal with strippers because as guys we are typically the aggressors, but in this environment, they are the hunters and we are the prey.

At this point, I assumed she would just walk away and make the remainder of her rounds in the room, but instead she decided to sit down on my lap and have a conversation. Once she stopped trying to get my 10 bucks, we got into the topic of family. She started talking about her son who was seven years old and according to her was a chick magnet (flirting with older women – 5th graders), in touch with his masculinity enough to be able to talk with his mom about women’s fashion (but not being gay), and the most mature child you would ever meet. She was a single mom who loved her son.

After hearing this I came to wonder if mothers invest more of themselves with their children because their men are not as willing to be molded to their needs and standards. With Diamond, it sounded like she was describing to me her ideal “Man” versus her child. She was raising him to be the man that she wanted in her life because she may have not been able to find it from her “baby-daddy.” I have heard of other moms who are able to stay in dysfunctional relationships because they allow their relationship with their children to overshadow any issues with their partners. They end up not caring about the status of their relationship because they get the stability and unconditional love they desire from their kids and for many mothers, their sons.

It’s very easy for children to distract couples from continually working at their relationship. It’s one thing to be busy with preparing the kids’ breakfast, helping with homework, and putting them to bed every night, but it’s another to emotionally put you and your children on an island and leave your partner with a life vest out in the ocean. It becomes very easy for us to emotionally attach ourselves to our children and only physically present with our significant other.

Diamond, if you ever read this, I thank you for the conversation (and not charging me for it) and wish you a career change in the near future so you can be home with your son to tuck him.

Until Next time…

Friday, May 29, 2009

Survey: Do you go with a Timout? or a Personal Foul?

I was around eight years old and I remember standing in front of a wall next to my sister. We both were scared as our dad started to unbuckle his belt. I don’t remember what we did, but we were in trouble and our dad was going to make sure we knew of his disapproval. I was casually looking at my sister seeing what she was doing when my dad swung and made contact with my buttocks. I wasn’t ready for it so I jumped as a reflex. This caused me and my sister to just start cracking up which pissed my dad even more. That night I had multiple whippings. My dad did not appreciate any form of laughter during his “belt” sessions.

I bring this memory up to discuss the topic of punishment and to see which form of punishment is the most productive for our children. Right now, my wife and I are resorting to “Timeouts” which are pretty effective with our two year old son Bishop. It’s to the point where right when I start counting down from 3-2-1, he knows he needs to listen or else he will suffer a couple of minutes in the corner of his room’s closet. For the most part, we get him to do what we want when we threaten him with “Timeout.” But how long will this last? I can’t imagine “Timeouts” being this effective when he’s eight years old and he realizes that he may be able to sneak away and leave the corner before I go to end his sentence. At some point do I have to resort to my father’s ways and unbuckle my belt?

I can’t say I will never do it, but my preference would be to not resort to physical forms of punishment. My dad using the belt on me helped me to know the difference between right and wrong, but also left a gap emotionally within our relationship. Many traditionalists believe that society is as bad as it is because children have not been hit enough by their parents. New age child rearing professionals have told me that even using the phrase “Timeout” is too forceful and that we should call it “Relaxation Time.” Where can I find the balance of being forceful but not have my children fear me so much that they won’t open up to me in the future?

What’s your got to move when punishing your kids, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren (I doubt I’ll get any good ones from grandparents, because you guys just spoil our kids anyways)? Please be specific in sharing your experiences within the comments section and explaining your strategies when it comes to punishment.

Thanks for the great ideas in advanced; I will let you know which I will steal for the future.

Until next time…

Oh last thing, Go Lakers!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Parental Aftershocks

So we just had our second earthquake in three days here in Southern California. Being raised in Los Angeles, I usually find it amusing hearing earthquake virgins describe their Armageddon experience, but a conversation with a co-worker made me think about how as Young Dad, these past earthquakes were something new for me.

She was explaining her traumatic experience and how she ran to her daughter's room and forced her to stand under a door way even when the shaking had stopped. At first I found it funny, but then it made me remember Bishop and Charlee and how this was the first time I experienced an earthquake as a father of two. My wife and I were in the kitchen and right after the house stopped shaking, I immediately ran to the bedrooms. Bishop was in the far room and Charlee was in our room. For some reason I ran past Charlee and went straight for Bishop's where I saw him still asleep. My wife behind me checked on Charlee and said that she also hadn't woken up. Once everything settled, I was relieved but also felt a tinge of guilt by not going to see Charlee first. Shouldn’t I have been more worried about her since she’s a girl and also an infant? Do female children have priority in these emergency circumstances? Does age matter? Of course at the age of two, I don’t know if Bishop would’ve been better off, but as a father of two, how do I decide between my children?

Whether it’s reacting to an emergency situation or deciding which child gets to sit in the front seat of a car, what do we do as parents when we have to choose?

Hospitals should give out equations that will tell us in a certain situation, which child deserves to be chosen. But since they don’t, we parents are left to assess a situation quickly and make a decision. This earthquake made me realize that we can't treat both children completely the same and at some point, we are going to have to choose. We probably aren’t going to be able to please our children with every decision, but I guess all I can hang my hat on is that sooner or later they’ll either forgive or forget.

Earthquakes come and go, but the aftershocks keep coming.

Sorry Charlee!

Until Next time...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0‏

Usually I don't like forwarding spam emails, but I caught myself laughing out loud with this one, so here it is:

A desperate woman writes to the Technical support Guy

Dear Tech Support ,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and I noticed a distinct slowdown in the overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewellery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NEWS 5.0, MONEY 3.0 and CRICKET 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2. 6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?

Desperate Woman
Tech Support Reply


First, keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an Operating System.

Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update.

If that application works as designed, Husband1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewellery 2.0 and Flowers 3.5. However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Silence 2.5 , Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1.

Please note that Beer 6. 1 is a very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT install Mother-In-Law 1.0 under any circumstances (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources).

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend: Cooking 3.0 and Hot Looks 7.7.

Good Luck Madam!
Tech Support

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What to do with Dreams when life wakes you up

Growing up, the game of basketball was a big a part of my life. It was the vehicle I used to make friends and was a part of who I was. I was a "Baller". Not in the sense that I was extra-ordinarily good, but it was the label that categorized those who after school ran straight to the park and played until sun down, the group who had to have the newest and most expensive Nike's, and the players who laid in bed unable to sleep, constantly replaying layups missed or passes that resulted in turnovers. I loved the game and my dream was to one day play basketball professionally. One day in middle school, a friend told me, "Leo you're going to be the first Filipino in the NBA." Me being five foot nothing, I knew it would be a stretch, so I settled with the hope of playing overseas professionally in the Philippines. This was my goal, and after graduating from UCLA, I was going to fly out to the Philippines, and try and obtain my dream.

However, during my senior year life stepped in and my priorities changed. Three months before I was set to graduate, Charisse and I found out that little Bishop was on the way. I was suddenly a husband and a father which caused my dreams to take a back seat and for my family’s needs to be prioritized.

I’m left to ponder how we move forward and cope with goals unreached? How do we store unfulfilled dreams and allow them to be productive versus destructive?

Unattained dreams become nightmares for many people. Regret and constantly looking back eat away at people’s spirits. A common way for many parents to cope with the regret is by living vicariously through their children. In my case, the day after Bishop was born, I was at the mall getting him his first pair of Jordan’s (nothing more ridiculous than buying a forty dollar pair of sneakers for a one day old infant). One year later, his first birthday present was his own basketball hoop. I don’t know what I’m going to get him this year (probably a Kobe jersey), but what I don’t want is to be that parent, years from now, who snaps and jumps out of the stands to tackle a referee or trigger a riot in the gym during Junior High tryouts. I can see my pattern of behavior potentially ending there and I don’t want it to happen.

Another common way parents deal with their past failures is projecting it upon their kids. Because we have failed, we see it more as a likely outcome and we try to protect our kids from it. My dad would tell me not to get my hopes too high if I wanted something because if and when it doesn’t happen, I would be that much more disappointed. This to me doesn’t really make much sense because failure hurts whether you’re prepared for it or not. Preparation for failure and bringing up the possibility of it only implants doubt and ultimately decreases a child’s ability to achieve their goals.

Many of us try to cover up our failures by lying to ourselves. We try and validate our present and devalue the unaccomplished goal. We tell ourselves that we’re better off not getting what we wanted and that whatever we were going for wasn’t that great anyway. In the end our true thoughts and emotions are still present and we become filled with bitterness and skepticism which ultimately affect our future aspirations and hurt our relationships.

I usually don’t try and come up with a “happily ever after” conclusion with these posts, but I feel one coming on so bear with me. We need to not lie to ourselves. We need to cope by acknowledging that we just didn’t reach a goal. As I take a deep breath and wipe away the tears I can say “I’m probably not going to be an NBA or PBA superstar”. But is it really about the dream and me playing professional basketball? Maybe what it’s about is not the disappointments, but the ability to create as many dreams as we want all throughout life. I’m reminded of reporters who ask successful individuals the question, “What can you tell people about following their dreams?” The common answer is, if you believe in it and if you work hard, you will achieve it. But I believed in being an NBA player and worked hard in trying to be one, but it didn’t happen. Does that mean that I didn’t believe it enough and didn’t work hard enough? I think the better answer is that if we have a dream, work hard in trying to achieve it. If we don’t get the result we are looking for, take a nap and come up with ten new ones… sooner or later we'll get one.

More questions and what I think are some pretty good guesses, what do you think?

Until next time…

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fashion Statement

This past week my wife cut her hair the shortest it's ever been. It's new and she looks hot! I don't know what it is, but a woman's hair has always been a physical attribute that catches my eye. I have always thought I was a dark, long, healthy hair type of guy. But I was happily surprised at how good she looks with short hair.

So where am I going with this? This post isn't meant to be a discussion about which hair style is my favorite, but my wife's new doo prompts me to explore what motivates us married people to still feel the need to make ourselves attractive.

I'm aware that people like to look good because that's how they love themselves, feel confident, and prioritize their health. But let's keep it real, a reason, and for many the main reason why people get all done up is because they want to attract the people around them. That was my intention when I was single. I bought a nice outfit and went to the gym to try and get big and buff so when a PYT (pretty young thang) came my way, I would be equipped with the proper bait to reel her in.

But now that I’m married, what reasons should I have to keep myself up? Why should I go to the gym and hit the weights as hard? In a weird way wouldn’t I be more of a loyal husband if I just let myself go, get fat and only focus on the love of my wife and family? Wouldn’t I just be looking for temptation to come my way?

Some may say it’s a superficial topic; worrying about one’s external appearance, but to me it goes deeper than that. It addresses the need to shift one's intentions when becoming a husband. In my case it's probably going to take some time to rid myself of a single dude’s mentality and adopt the married man's book of intentions. I think the key though is not to change overnight, but to recognize the need to adjust.

Once again so many more questions with so many more guesses.

Until next time…

Friday, May 1, 2009

*Friday Night Lights*

It's a Friday night. The wife Charisse is out with her best friend at a Happy Hour at the Melting Pot (which is a great but very expensive restaurant). We rarely go out alone these days, so when an occasion comes up where she wants to go out with a couple of friends by herself, I don’t hesitate and actually encourage her to go. Of course I understand her need to take a break every now and then, but the real reason why I am so open to her going out is so she will have nothing to say when it’s my turn for a night out. Are these impure intentions? Maybe…but it keeps peace and we both get well deserved breaks from the family unit with the support of the other partner.

My son Bishop is at the in-laws spending time with his grandparents who severely miss him after not seeing him for a whole five days.

So it's just me and my 4 month old daughter Charlee at home.

***Charlee just woke up and I had to take a hour break from writing until I was able to feed her and put her back into her crib***

This is definitely a different Friday night I would've been having 3 years ago when I was a senior at UCLA. I would’ve been at my apartment in west LA preparing for a night out with the roomies. Dang those days seem so far ago. It feels like it’s been so long because I can’t really remember an entire nights events anymore, all I have are moments from different nights blurred together. Okay maybe alcohol has a little something to do with this to.

Things have definitely changed. I would've been hopping out of the shower, picking a nice collared shirt, some dark denims, and top it off with quick spray of cologne, but tonight, I'm making sure Charlee's water for her infant bath tub is just the right temperature, I’m deciding which onsee she'll be wearing for bed, and finishing her off with a couple of squeezes of baby powder. Instead of a night out surrounded by 100's of people inside a Hollywood club with blinding strobe lights and smoke machines, I’m here in the master bedroom of our house, laying down next to Charlee’s crib with the DJ’s music replaced by lullabies from her mobile and the club lights changed to a round night light that shines a mellow orangey red color faintly throughout the room.

My mind forces me to ask... which life is better?

If posed to my college roommates now, no question they would probably choose the party lifestyle and are probably at a club right now. But what good is it for my development as a young dad to dwell on that question? I could probably pick out some things that are better by being home with my child than at a club, like more money in my pocket at the end of the night or not having a hang over tomorrow morning. But are these points enough to validate where I am at in life? Is it better that I am a family man because I can save some money and don't have to take Tylenol in the morning? Should I be even trying to validate my life at all? So many questions, so many guesses.

Friday nights remind me that I am still transitioning from being a young man to being a young dad. I could've dropped Charlee off at my parents tonight and gone to the gym, but how would that have helped me become a better young dad? Instead I chose to end the day as most parents do…put our kids to bed.

On that note, SportCenter just came on so we'll end the night’s reflection on that.

ps. Young Dad does not condone the lacking of exercise in one's life, but that battle will be discussed in a later posting.

Until next time.

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Bishop's 1st school presentation