Monday, October 28, 2013

Fourth Grade Bully Handled

My son is a good kid. He sticks up for other people and tries to always do what is best. I try to instill in him that he needs to take care of other people the way he would want to be treated. He knows what is appropriate behavior and he knows when kids are going too far.

That's why today, when he came home off the bus I was a little riled up. He told me that some kid on the bus was hitting other kids with his coat and that he knew it was wrong. So, he stood up to him and told him to stop. The fourth grader, "Matt" said "Shutup you bitch!" He told me in the car "Dad, he told me to shut up and called me the B word"

Now, I am normally a calm person and I know that kids are going to say things that they pick up from other people, but I honestly just wanted to storm the bus and ask everyone in there who "Matt" was and make an example of him. I wanted to stand over "Matt" and ask him "Who's the bitch now?" Of course I didn't do that, but the papa bear in me wanted to, badly. The safety of our children is a thing that you don't trifle with. 

You mess with my kid and you mess with me. It's that instinct that isn't just motherly but for all parents who protect their young. In the animal world, lions of a den and herds of elephants circle their young and keep them close when there is a threat. I wanted to maul this kid for calling my son a bitch. I can't imagine what my very sensitive son felt when this kid opened his mouth to call him a name.

Bullies. It's something that isn't tolerated in my son's school and schools these days don't take it lightly because we have seen that kids being bullied can lead to terrible stress and anxiety about school when it should be a safe place. 

I couldn't be more proud that my son, a third grader, stood up to a bigger kid and tried to protect the younger kids on the bus and himself. He's not an aggressive boy. He doesn't run the fastest, isn't coordinated enough to hit a baseball every time and doesn't jump off of things like most do. 

He is careful and maybe too careful at times, but the one time that he could have been cautious and look the other way, he did what most of us would do when we see the weak being attacked by the strong. Up until this summer he didn't even know what the "B word" was and thanks to some kid at the Norristown Zoo Camp, he was taught some choice swear words by kids that were incredulous that he didn't know them by now.

I am proud of him for being strong.I would like to think that me staying at home has influenced this side. That he has seen what it means to be a man and caring for others every day. 

I have seen the nurturing side in him much more often. He takes care of his younger sisters and they love him for it. I catch them together somewhere with their arms around each other, my six year old so enamored with her older brother that she is often draped over him giving him hugs and the special bond he has with our youngest, her often following him endlessly asking to play. His patience is something I think I have passed on to him.

How would I have felt if my son got into a fight when I have never been in one myself? While I am 6'7" and can look intimidating, I have never been in a fight. The times I have been close, my would-be opponent sized me up only to walk away. I have no idea what I would be capable of but am glad that I have never had the need to find out.

It is an underlying parenting clause that you want him to stick up for himself but you don't want things to get out of hand either. We want our kids to be strong but not overly aggressive. We want them to stick up for themselves and not be pushovers. The way he handled it calmly is a reflection of how I take care of things at home. Be levelheaded. Be firm. Assert yourself.

I followed up with an email to his teacher who talked to the principal. He addressed the entire bus yesterday before the kids were released. He spoke of inappropriate language and his disappointment in some of their actions. Needless to say, "Matt" quickly exited the bus that day. The principal praised the people that stood up for others and said he was proud of them for the way they handled the situation.

As much as I wanted to treat this boy like he treated mine, my son handled it the way we all should react to confrontation. I didn't need to be the angry bear dad coming to his rescue. He fought his own fight and I couldn't be more proud.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crayola Create 2 Destroy : Review and Giveaway

As an artist and having little artists in my home emulating me, I was excited when Crayola asked me and some other dad bloggers to try their new line called Create 2 Destroy. We were given a chance to compete with other bloggers by creating a 15 second Instagram video about how we got carried away with Create 2 Destroy's Dino Destruction: Metropolitan Mayhem Set. I want to DESTROY these other bloggers and you can help me win by voting for me.

My kids absolutely love modelling material and were chomping at the bit to get their hands on this new material and test it out. The Create 2 Destroy sets include a new material called Morphix that combines modelling material and sand. Fair warning when you are playing with this material, that because of the grit element, you will want to protect any surface that may get scratched as a result.

The Dino Destruction set comes with a cardboard play mat city scene and 19 molds to make cars, buildings, and everything you would want dinosaurs to crush and destroy as they rampage the city. The set also comes with three different color tubs of Morphix which in our case were gray, orange, and blue.

I loved the texture of Morphix and my kids enjoyed squishing it between their hands. As a former art teacher who has worked with kids in art therapy, it would make a great material to use for tactile manipulation and for little fingers that get easily frustrated by material that doesn't stay to its form.

Morphix does stick well but maybe too well because we found out that we couldn't easily extract any of it from the molds, rendering them useless. As with any kids, they found a way to make it work and moved on to creating with the material anyway. Their favorite parts were using the volcanoes to launch balls and using the dinos to smash objects they laid out in the street.

Here is the video of us creating and destroying: If you aren't able to see the video because you are using Chrome, use a different browser to view it.

Some other Dad Bloggers and I have joined up to help increase your chances of getting a box of your own. Joining me are Tom from Twins And Then,  John from Daddy’s In Charge?, Colby from Days of the Domestic Dad,  Chris from Daddy Doctrines, and James from Stay At Home Dad PDX. Check out their pages and use the cool entry form below to enter for your chance at one of 6 prizes with 13 chances to enter!

Now, you can help me by helping me win this whole thing. Head to the Crayola Facebook page HERE to vote for me. Click on the image that says "Vote for Videos" and find my entry, Dad In Charge, and click the red button that says "Vote For This Video". Make sure you don't click on "Daddy's In Charge" because that is not me. My video has my two year old saying "We want to destroy!" You can win your own FREE set by entering our Dad Blogger giveaway below.


You can get in on the action as well. Follow Crayola on Instagram, create your own 15 second Instagram video using the hashtag #Create2Destroy and submit your video. You could not only win a $1,000 gift card but the winning storyline will be featured on Crayola's 2014 product box! Imagine your kids telling their friends that they are on the box of a toy! Go to Crayola's Facebook page for fan entries here. Contest open to U.S. Residents only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crayola supplied me with a Create 2 Destroy set and a gift card in exchange for this post. All opinions are mine, Chris Bernholdt and are solely mine but I am the DadNCharge, so I am right.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Angry Birds Star Wars II Telepods Review

Hasbro is at it again with their innovation of the Angry Birds Star Wars toy line. Last time I reviewed the Angry Birds Star Wars line, the figures had limited use other than in the games. This time, it is Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods that are making a splash on iPads and tablets everywhere.

The Angry Birds Star Wars app is great in its gameplay but there are limitations to your success when you haven't earned enough points to buy special characters within the game. Telepods changes that dynamic instantly with your ability to use characters that you have purchased in a figure pack directly into the game!

If you want to sub out Jar Jar, and believe me we all do, all you have to do is place the character you want on the Telepods stand and position your character over the tablet's camera.

Your character will immediately be transported into the game replacing the figure in the slingshot. Beware though, you can only use the substitution once in that level and you can only use good guys on the "Bird Side" and bad guys on the "Pig Side" of the game.

I thought this was an awesome way to further use the figures and made my eight year old son much more careful about leaving Angry Bird heads rolling around on the floor. I like that using them is limited because it causes whoever is playing to strategize about how they use each figure.

See my Instagram video on how to use the figures. Check out for TELEPODS smart device compatibility.

If you buy one of the vehicle packs, you will receive two figures, one of which is an exclusive figure. You can choose from ENDOR CHASE, and DEATH STAR TRENCH RUN.

Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods Vehicle Packs (Approximate Retail Price: $19.99; Ages 5 & Up)

The figure packs are great ways to start building your collection. It includes two figures that can be used in the game.

Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods Figure Pack (Approximate Retail Price: $5.99; Ages 5 & Up.)

FTC Disclaimer: Hasbro has supported my imagination through play for many years and continues to do so. The material posted here are solely Chris Bernholdt's opinions and I was provided one of each set mentioned in this post in exchange for the review.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm Too Young For A Blood Clot

In the summer of 2012, I was going to be heading to Welaka, FL to be with my younger brother and his friends for his bachelor party. I had heard the legends of this man weekend: eating nothing but meat and beer for fluids. I only needed a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and flip flops. Nothing else was necessary and I mean nothing.

Prior to heading there though, I had experienced a sharp pain in my left leg every time I walked on it. As a stay at home parent I knew I had to power through whatever was bothering me that day and shrugged it off as soreness from the gym. Later that night I could barely put any weight on it and called my doctor for an appointment.

The next morning, I had a huge bruise on my left calf and I could see the veins all around it like a giant spider on my leg. The doctor ordered an ultrasound and I headed to the hospital. They confirmed it was a blood clot.

I was worried. In twenty four hours, was supposed to be boarding a plane to fly to FL to party with my brother and I was worried that my leg would explode or the clot would travel. My doctor said I would be fine as long as I didn't sit for long periods on the plane but I was still freaking out. Why did I have a blood clot at thirty-eight?

It can be hereditary, a freak thing, or be because of lack of activity. Prior to this happening, I had thrown out my back and had stopped going to the gym until it was better.

The blood clot was the thing that got me moving and changing my mind about exercise. It could have travelled to my lungs or heart and that would have been it. When the Dad Bloggers asked me if I wanted to be a part of Chuck The Chunk: On The Road to Dad 2.0, that was the extra push to get me there.

Since then, I have been going to the gym everyday. I have increased my water intake and have been eating healthier. I didn't give up everything cold turkey as I have found that doesn't work for me. I started playing tennis for an hour and a half once a week and found out I am pretty good at it. Being active has made me feel a lot better about myself and has kept me moving through the day.

My wife and I just started T25 this week that was created by Shaun T. A 25 minute exercise program 6 days a week. It is a perfect amount of time and we keep each other motivated. We wake up before the kids do and knock it out before they wake up.

Since my last post in August, where I started at 245lbs. I am now down to 232, 12 pounds away from my pre-kid weight and goal. Knowing I am halfway there has me motivated and it has helped that my wife has noticed changes and my kids have cheered me on.

As Shaun T. says "Stay focused, you got this" and I do. Here's to the next 13 pounds lost.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dads Are Redefining What It Means To Be a Man

Stay at Home Dads like myself are sick of being called babysitters. We are tired of the stink eyes at the park. We are frustrated with this belief that a man can't be affectionate towards his kids. We are fed up with people who think dads who stay at home are babysitters and not primary caregivers like women. And just FYI, being called a babysitter AND Mr. Mom just might make us lose it.

Let me tell you if you are one of those who say "man up" that this is exactly what we are doing. Fathers everywhere are turning the 1950's perception of what it means to be a dad on its head. It started with great dads like Charlie Capen's dad who gave up his career in radio to stay at home with his son and has progressed to a new breed of men who are staying home with the kids.

I get teary eyed when I see that Orbit commercial and for the love of God, NEVER play Steven Curtis Chapman's Cinderella with me around unless you want me to turn into a blubbering idiot. I am not good with power tools and I don't know much about cars. It doesn't mean I am less of a man. As a teacher, my skill set has always been taking care of kids. That's what I am good at and many guys are just like me, doing anything for their kids including staying at home with them.

Remember those class reports where you had to present a riveting topic that you knew nothing about but decided that taking an excerpt from The World Book Encyclopedia word for word would be a good idea? This was not ideal especially when you had to read it to the class using the monotonous Ferris Bueller voice and you would realize that you had no idea what your were reporting on because you never actually looked into it.

Often stay at home dads are discounted and miscounted as we have seen articles like Jordan Weissman The Atlantic not buying into "The Overhyped Rise of The Stay At Home Dad" but the truth of the matter is that at home dads are not accurately counted therefore the numbers can never be accurate. Chris Routly of The Daddy Doctrines lays the specifics out on why the U.S. Census just doesn't give men who stay at home the recognition we deserve.

Believe it or not, men seek out other men to have the very same socialization that women have. Sure, there are more opportunities for women as traditionally this has been their role and it is also true that we aren't exactly talking about all the same things. But, with roles changing and more men staying at home, despite what the numbers say, at home dads are taking more active roles in creating communities of like minded dads whose primary concern in life is to provide for their children in the best way they can, by loving them in every way they can.

One example of men building a strong community is the National At Home Dad Network and their annual convention. This year the convention is meeting in Denver, Colorado where participants from around the country will meet face to face to learn how they can be better fathers and build lasting friendships with other dads. The convention features speakers and breakout sessions where participants can choose what they want to learn more about and receive support from other dads who are dealing with similar issues. There is a wealth of knowledge among this group that surpasses any book you can read. My first convention was a year ago and was a revitalizing experience that I will continue to participate in. In a little over a week I get to go again and cannot wait.

Stay at home dads, work from home dads, and working dads have sought each other out online and have created Facebook groups so that they can share their experiences, vent, or ask questions. Dad Bloggers from all over the world regularly converse about everything under the sun and make connections with brands, other parents and write about topics we all have to deal with through fatherhood. While seeing other dads in person is more ideal, it is great to know that if I have an issue or just need to "talk" to someone that there is support if you search for it.

Another example of fathers building relationships with other dads is the rise of the community dads groups. Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider have built the flagship group in the NYC Dads Group. Following suit here in Philly, me and Jeff Bogle of Out With the Kids, have launched the Philly Dads Group. We aim to give our members an opportunity to socialize, learn, and support each other as we navigate parenthood and spend quality time with our children. Other dads and bloggers across the country have launched similar groups in L.A., Chicago, and Boston and we are forever growing. You can find these groups on Meetup.

Despite what you might read about the rise of stay at home dads or not or buy into dads becoming for involved, dads everywhere are coming together and redefining the roles that men once held. We are changing what it means to be involved fathers in our children's lives and if given the chance to be with them during the time that they most need it, we are taking it and not looking back. We know that time is fleeting and that one day the clock will strike midnight and they will be gone and I for one don't want to miss even one moment. I want my kids to look back on our time together and know without a doubt that I will be there for them through anything. How is that for being a man?