Getting that graduation gift doesn’t mean going for bust

image After reading about how the parents of LuLu Diaz gave their daughter $6,000 breast implants for her high school graduation gift, I couldn’t help but be shocked by the idea of a father agreeing to anything that would make his teenaged daughter more enticing to teenaged boys.

As luck would have it, I actually spent several years in my teens. Because of this I can tell you there are many teenaged boys who still haven’t made it past the “breast” portion of this column. Sadly, some may never finish reading it because, in order to break them out of their current hypnotic spell, it will become necessary for a close friend or family member to light them on fire.

Let’s face it: This is the nature of most men until the aging process inspires a level of physical maturity that dethrones sex as the main motivator. While there is no set timeline for this transformation, most experts agree it begins anywhere between six and eight months after death.

Until then, at least from a father’s perspective, men can’t be trusted. Continue reading Getting that graduation gift doesn’t mean going for bust


How I used pink wrapping paper to improve my son’s memory

My youngest son is 15, athletic and highly driven. He is also developing the need for a personal assistant to remind him about — or bring him — things he forgets on an almost-daily basis. When he texted me this morning asking if I could bring his baseball cap, which he needed in order to play in the game — and which he needed sometime in the next 20 minutes before the team bus left — I snapped my phone closed, sat back in my chair and exclaimed “I’m becoming Pepper Potts!”

Oddly, this did not raise a single eyebrow in our newsroom. Continue reading How I used pink wrapping paper to improve my son’s memory

School has started and my kids have become pod people

Honey, I don't think the kids' alarms were set for school...
“Hey, Honey? I don’t think the kids’ alarms went off for school!”
Now that school is back in session, we have settled into our normal routine here at the Hickson household. This routine is based on a strict time schedule that my wife and I have developed over the years to ensure that, each morning at precisely 7 a.m., all hell breaks loose. This includes — but isn’t limited to — at least one person (or family pet) running through the house in boxer shorts, and my daughter locking the bathroom door for some “quiet time” while heating a Pop-Tart with her hair dryer.

Though we know this pandemonium could be avoided by just getting up a little earlier, the fact is, my wife and I are the only morning people in our family. As anyone in this situation already knows, this is sort of like being the only lambs at a coyote picnic. Continue reading School has started and my kids have become pod people

Parenting teens is easy once you embrace being an embarrassment

My son really hates it when I call for a price check.
My son really hates it when I call for a price check.

Everyone with teenagers please raise your free hand. And by “free” hand, I mean whichever hand isn’t either guarding your wallet or refrigerator door. For parents without a free hand because you are guarding both, don’t worry; we can see it in your eyes. It’s that blank, pleading stare recognized and shared by all parents with teenagers.

It’s a look that says, If not for over-the-counter medication and America’s Got Talent, I would curl into a fetal position until my kids turn 20.

Part of what makes raising teens so challenging, aside from mood swings that would frighten both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is the lengths parents will go to avoid doing things their teen views as “totally embarrassing,” such as breathing while in the presence of someone they might know from school. Or making eye contact with them anywhere outside of the home. Or referring to them as “Pookie” or “Scooter” while standing in line with other parents and teens during school registration. (Read more at Long Awkward Pause…)