SSS #195: Good Dad Great Dad


When we left the Zoo yesterday, I took Dia's cell phone out of the stroller's cupholder and placed it on the roof of our car.

I forgot about it and drove off. 😬

When we got home, we used Find My iPhone to locate it.

It was on JFK Parkway in Livingston, which is about the halfway point between our home and the Zoo.

The phone is OK, but my face is cracked.

^ I said that backward... Or did I? 🤕

Livin' La Vida Luna

Chunker & Munker - you can decide which is which
Chunker & Munker - you can decide which is which

You know when you're lying in bed trying to fall asleep, but a nagging thought keeps you from finally dozing off?

Then you loudly whisper your partner's name to see if they’re still awake.


But they're so close to falling asleep that all they can manage to reply with is a grunt.


YES! The door is open so you loudly whisper again,

*I HAVE to tell you something…*

Hopefully, they don’t reply with, "Can it wait until tomorrow?"

Because, obviously, it can’t...

So all you're really hoping for is another grunt.


And that’s your cue. Now you can drop the time bomb about to go off in your head into their hands.

Yay! Misery loves company.

The Situation

Last Saturday was ROUGH.

After a play date with her friends in the morning, Luna decided to skip her afternoon nap.

She was in her bed for a good ~90 minutes, but she didn't sleep at all. This happens often enough on school days, but hardly ever on the weekends.

As the afternoon progressed into the evening, she became more and more irritable.

Every. little. thing was a tripwire to a potential nuclear meltdown.

On days like these, when she skips her nap and becomes super cranky as a result, we start her nighttime routine immediately after dinner.

On this particular night, my parents and sister were over for our weekly hang.

So when we told Luna it was time for bed, it caused the MacDaddy of all outbursts. I was completely out of patience.

I carried her upstairs kicking and screaming. Then gave her a bath as she cried, screamed, and splashed water all over me.

That was followed by a WWE-style wrestling match to get her into pajamas. We skipped reading a book and sang two songs as fast as possible before I practically threw her into her crib.

I closed her bedroom door behind me and let out a gigantic sigh of defeat.

I wish I could say this instance was a rare occurrence, but recently it's been happening more often than I'd like to admit...


In his famous commencement speech at Stanford University, Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking."

I've taken this advice to heart, especially when it comes to raising children.

Mainly because there are SO MANY stupid dogmatic expressions when it comes to parenting.

We all know them. For example:

  • Say goodbye to a good night's sleep.
  • No vacations for 18 years.
  • Say goodbye to your sex life.

Yawn. Those are all bullshit.

  • I probably sleep better now than before kids.
  • Luna's been on a plane more times in her first 3 years of life than I have in my first 20.
  • And my wife is a spicy mamacita, so... yeah - we're Gucci.

Anyway, my least favorite recent expressions are:

  • Terrible Twos - and -
  • Threenager

These are phrases used to describe the tantrum-riddled ages of 2-3 years old.

Although they're accurate (Luna has BIG feelings often), I simply do not subscribe to the terminology or the idea that it has to be this way.

Good vs. Great

Which brings me back to last Saturday night.

Once I got her attention, I told Dia I think I lost sight of what it means to be a Great Dad - mainly because so many of my recent interactions with Luna quickly turn into a power struggle.

  • Don't want to brush your teeth? OK - I'll hold your face still and brush them for you.
  • Don't want to eat your dinner? OK - no dessert + go to bed hungry.
  • Don't want to put your shoes on? OK - I'll carry you to the car and put your shoes on once you're strapped into your seat.
  • Don't want to wash your hair? OK - I'll just dump this cup of water on your head while you scream as loud as you can directly into my face.

... I can give a thousand examples where I simply "overpower" her.

But it fucking sucks.


And it's not because Luna is being a normal toddler who cannot self-regulate her emotions while her brain is absorbing information at the rate water is released from a fire hose.

It sucks because I haven't been able to meet her where she is. Instead, I've been expecting her to just "get with the program", which is obviously unfair to her.

And if I think back to how long this has been going on, it started somewhere between Luca being born (May '22) and Luna changing schools (April '23).

That's a large window - I know. But I vividly remember telling Dia parenting is easy as hell right before Luca was born (Luna was already 2).

Back then, I was in my bag. I was basically the Indian Mr. Rogers (the TV version - not the real life version).

Somewhere along the line, I was lulled to sleep and decided to rest on my laurels.

The problem? Luna has developed 10x since then and I'm still acting like a tickle session can solve any problem. Pro-Tip: It can't. It'll actually probably just make things worse.


I'm turning the page, drawing a line in the sand, and planting a flag in the ground.

I'm killing the dad I was these past few months to Luna to become the dad both of my kids need me to be.

But it's nuanced.

The dad I used to be might still be "great" for Luca, but it's just not a good enough version for Luna.

I need a software upgrade.

In addition to learning more, I think a lot of it boils down to remembering to meet her where she is instead of silently asking her to meet some arbitrary expectations I have of her.

This shit's so hard, and I'm likely to drop the ball again.

But when I do, I hope I still have the humility to loudly whisper to Dia again...

*I have to tell you something...*