A Typical Day With Dad

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My wife and I have a daughter who is 3.5 years old going on 15, and a new son who is 4 months old. While I would love to explain a typical day with both children (which is more an exercise of keeping the 3 year old busy and/or alive and the 4 month old fed), I will instead describe a typical day when my daughter and I get to spend time alone.  If nothing serious is on my agenda for the day, one can safely bet that a princess costume request is imminent, a Disney movie is possible, a tea party is inevitable, and the likelihood for blocks, a potential visit to the park, or whatever other great idea we come up with weather permitting.


If there is an agenda for the day, that is when things truly get interesting. A few weeks ago, I decided to tackle some outside painting on one of these father-daughter days. You are probably thinking…this can’t end well, but in all fairness, it was a great day for both of us. In working outside with my favorite little helper, I have learned that she is always genuinely interested in doing exactly what I am doing.

Before I was even able to start and get my painting supplies together, my daughter had located a trash can temporarily set near our garage door which became the “toy of the moment.” This conveniently became a not so safe chair for her and ultimately became a musical instrument of sorts. Who was I to question her? It bought me 15 minutes.

So, to start off, I filled a bucket with water, located an old paintbrush, and told her that I needed her to paint her red wagon. This secured me a solid 6-9 minutes of painting, before her boredom set in. At this point, my light-bulb idea was to find other things for her to “paint” with water while accomplishing some painting on my own. Then, painting with water became as uncool as the plague. She was then cleverly and quickly able to locate a barrage of dangerous items (a pair of needle nose plyers, a garden sheer, a hammer, a screw…you get the point). I decide I need a new strategy. I find a garden sprayer, fill it with water, and tell her I need her to water the shrubs in front of the house. This also bought me 6-9 minutes of valuable painting time. Once again, after locating my golf bag and removing all of the golf balls and tees inside, the plague set in.

Next up, beach toys! I saw the beach toys on the shelf in the garage. I filled an even bigger bucket with water and set her loose again. 20 minutes later, my daughter had monopolized the entire garage area with beach toys, set up an un-inflated pool float as a nap pad (when we both knew that there was a better possibility of me taking a nap instead of her), an ice chest which alternated between a table and a chair, and a red wagon full of several unrelated but truly necessary items (at least insofar as she was concerned). All I could do was smile as I continued to paint while continuously monitoring her situation.

When it came time for a snack, I opted to set up the ice chest “chair” picnic on an actual table to sneakily attempt to have her sit still for more than 6 minutes. Once again, the boredom plague. She moved on to find a small gardening shovel in the corner of the garage and not only found soft soil to dig, but also very helpfully spread this across the walkway leading to our home’s front door. I say helpfully, because this inadvertently earned me 20 minutes of only slightly inhibited painting time!


Since I keep a tool-chest in the back of my SUV, I was also frequenting the back of the vehicle to get various tools as they were required. For discussion of intentions purposes only, I also keep a fully stocked work-out bag complete with a stocking hat (primarily for running in colder weather) in the back of my SUV. My princess, after innovatively making her way into the back of the SUV) immediately felt that this stocking hat needed to be part of her current wardrobe and acted accordingly. The result was a picture that may possibly haunt her until she is 30.

Days like the one described above are not only my favorites as a father, but were also my favorites as a son. My dad was always doing things around the house, and I often recall needing only a piece of rope, a stick, a yard tool, or some other random combination of things lying around to keep myself busy. It is moments like these that make me cherish the countless minutes that my dad put whatever he was doing aside to help me build a fort, dig a hole, tie a knot, throw a baseball, play basketball, or whatever else was the flavor of the moment. My dad taught me that work is necessary and chores need to be done, but that “play” can also often be injected into the process. He also taught me that if the work gets finished sooner, play can then become the primary focus.

I certainly needed to paint my house the other day, but I also needed to supervise and spend time with my daughter. As any parent will tell you, there are never enough minutes in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Therefore, when I get a chance to multi-task and kill several birds with one stone, I take it. Even if I still need to finish painting my house.

daniel1This post is part of a special Dad’s Takeover Series, where local dads are being featured and sharing their side of the story! Today’s post comes from Daniel Henry Jr. Daniel, originally from a small town south of Houma, transplanted to Baton Rouge in 2000 to attend Louisiana State University. He is the father of a beautiful and vibrant daughter (Kendall 3) and a happy and curious new son (Keller 4mos), and the husband to his lovely, loving, and lovable wife (Jennifer). While Daniel used to enjoy fishing, golfing, and what he used to call “spare time,” he now celebrates his role as a father and husband to what he believes to be a perfect family.

Angela is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to 4 children. She and her husband, Josh, were born and raised in Louisiana and love raising their kids around family and friends. They love exploring the outdoors, traveling, and playing sports. Angela loves to encourage other homeschooling moms and loves to advocate for getting kids off screens and outside.


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