A bit of fatherly advice to dads on deck

June 18, 2011

There is a book that many parents-to-be pick up before they have their first child; it's called "What to Expect When You're Expecting."

The book is chalk full of pertinent information and provides guidelines for parents who are about to bring a youngster into the world.

One of my sportswriting colleagues in the office, Gabriel Rizk, is about to become a new father. In just a few weeks, he and his wife, Kay, will welcome a new baby boy. The birth will thrust Gabriel into the challenging, rewarding and often headache-inducing realm of fatherhood.


Being a father of two — my daughter Shannon will be 10 next month and my son Grant is 7 — I have learned my share during my near-decade of parenthood. I have gone though many trials and tribulations with my kids (although many tell me the real challenges begin when they become teenagers — can't wait for that).

With that knowledge, I have learned things that you just can't find in a book. So, it is my obligation to all the new fathers, like Gabriel, to let them know what to really expect from your children. Just call it my little Father's Day gift.

With boys, never underestimate their ability to get dirty. I have found dirt on parts of my son Grant that I can't even fathom how it got there.

The other night when I was tucking Grant into bed, I gave him a kiss and tapped him on his head to tell him good night. But when I touched his pillow I discovered a mound of sand. Upon further investigation, I saw a trickle coming from his head, and his scalp was imbedded with sand particles. When I asked him how in the world did the sand get into his hair, he proudly answered, "When I'm in the sandbox and I throw sand in the air, it falls on my head. But it usually falls out during the day."

Well, I guess that explains everything.

Boys are also harder on everything. When we buy Shannon a new pair of shoes, for example, she takes care of them. She will wipe off stains when they get dirty and will make sure they are presentable. Grant is just the opposite. He can go through a new pair of shoes in two months. And if the shoelaces are dragging on the ground getting frayed and worn, there's no way he's going to stop playing to do something silly like tie his shoelaces.

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