Neanderdad and the Sincerest Form of Flattery

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Still in his pajamas, Neanderdad sat slumped at the breakfast table. He sipped groggily at the caffeine leaching from the tea bag in his cup. He scratched at his unkempt, shaggy head. He rubbed his puffy, sleep-blurred eyes. Then he scowled slightly at the bright sunlight. Never a morning person, Neanderdad was famously grumpy before noon. His family had learned to adjust to that reality and give him space. But this day, because the girl had left early with her mother, Neanderdad was alone with the boy. Neanderdad now worried that his morning distemper would lead to a poor bonding experience. Continue reading

Neanderdad by Example

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The first amber leaves of Fall dotted the surrounding trees.  Darkness started to creep earlier into each passing day.  So too did signs of darkness appear in the dwelling of Neanderdad, the shaggy, primordial parent of two.  Little ones were learning the power and perils of their negative emotions and Neanderdad was determined to be the beacon of light to lead his offspring through this tempestuous season.

First came the boy.  His tantrum was unexpected, abrupt and violent.

“Got my lip balm.  In my pocket,” he had proudly proclaimed, prior to the incident. He had patted his pants pocket for emphasis, a broad smile on his face.

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Neanderdad Starts A Rivalry

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Now came troubles to Neanderdad’s house.    The worst kind of troubles.   A civil war had erupted between the girl and the boy.   Now came insults and slights, jabs and needling, attacks and reprisals.   Two sweet children, so recently full of love for each other, had now devolved into demons bent on mutual harm.   The siblings had become rivals.   Neanderdad had been the catalyst.

It had all started so innocently.  Neanderdad found himself lacking in the advanced motivational skills required to get his children efficiently through their bedtime routine.  And whereas Neanderdad wanted his offspring to proceed forthwith to the bathroom for bathing and the brushing of teeth, and with the children being opposed to said bureaucratic necessities, Neanderdad was therefore compelled to develop a technique for expediting things.   It was a technique that he mistook for brilliance.  It consisted of a single word.

“Race?” He had said. Continue reading

Dad is Thy Co-Pilot

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Motherhood.  Its not a job for the faint of heart.  And you mothers that read this newsletter are in the toughest part of the toughest job.  The early years are simply brutal.  Day by day, you are struggling to pull it all together against formidable challenges.  Luckily, most of you have a co-pilot to help share the load.  And, as it turns out, it is that time of year when the world, led by Hallmark, turns it gaze of appreciation toward the co-pilot and makes him the guest of honor on that copycat of holidays, Father’s day.

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Neanderdad Flies Solo

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“Have a great time,” she said with a smile.  And it was the smile that worried Neanderdad the most.  Was it part humor?   Part pity?   Or perhaps part apprehension?  He wasn’t quite sure.  But it worried him him.  And after flashing that cryptic smile, Neanderdad’s mate rolled her luggage out the front door and into the night, leaving him completely, utterly, irrevocably alone.

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Neanderdad Takes A Trip

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“Miss you,” The girl said.  Then the boy said it.  Then his mate said it too.  There was some hugging and kissing through the open doors of the car.  There was one more quick wave to the children.  Then Neanderdad was away and strolling through the terminal, rolling bag in tow and a spring in his step.    The usual hassles surrounded credentials, luggage and lines didn’t bother him a bit.  The crowds didn’t bother him.  The overuse of cologne by strangers didn’t bother him.  Nothing bothered him.  Neanderdad was basking in the glorious glow of freedom.  He pondered this absently as he put his shoes into a plastic bin.

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Neanderdad Looks Out

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It was dark now and Neanderdad’s offspring were slumbering.  With his mate out of the house running errands, Neanderdad had a rare moment of quiet to collect his thoughts.  Quiet, that is, save for the incessant jingling of the dog collar as the dog chewed nervously at his paws.  This was a habit that the beast had practiced with gusto since the arrival of the children, and it drove Neanderdad to distraction.  Neanderdad endeavored to ignore this irritant as he gazed out the window and down across the valley below his dwelling.

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Neanderdad the Memorable

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Be memorable.  That had been Neanderdad’s parenting goal that day.  It was, perhaps, a bit self-serving.  But that was his goal nonetheless.  So he had taken his daughter on a special trip to the riding stables to feed carrots to the horses.  She talked about it glowingly for the rest of the day as if it perhaps would be a lasting memory.  For the boy, it had been batting practice with the tee.  His swing was developing quite impressively.  Neanderdad had been out there for a long time, patiently coaching him.  Perhaps the boy wouldn’t remember these specific lessons, but someday that swing would shine under the lights and he might vaguely recall his dear old dad’s involvement.  Such were Neanderdad’s fantasies, anyway.   Continue reading

Neanderdad Sees Santas

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No figure in the mythology of Neanderdad’s culture held more sway with the little ones than a certain bearded, red-suited, chuckling, jolly-old-elf.  Neanderdad knew this well.  So it was with some dismay that he rode the Christmas Train with his family and looked over the man who claimed to be Santa Claus. First, this one was much thinner than the archetype.  Second, his red and white suit had a thin, threadbare quality.  Third, the fake black boots were sewn onto the pant legs and did not completely cover a pair of brown street shoes.  Fourth, his stringy, artificial beard hung unevenly on his black-beard-stubbled face.  Fifth and finally, his baritone chuckling and ho-ho-ing were forced, as if his voice truly belonged in a higher register.   Continue reading

Neanderdad Explores Bouncy Culture

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Upon arriving at the umpteenth straight weekend birthday party for a play-group friend of his offspring, Neanderdad did what he always did. He released his two wards into the intense gravity of the nearby Bouncy Castle and watched them get sucked inside. The boy went first, not even bothering to struggle. The girl did at least look around; at the food, the table full of presents and at the few kids who weren’t yet inside. But she quickly succumbed as well, crawling through the flap door and onto the inflated inner surface.   Continue reading