Originally posted June 18, 2010, for KVOE.com “What’s On My Plate.”

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Since becoming a dad over three years ago, I have learned a lot:

  • Kids will eat a lot of what you give them at home. Take them on the road, and the menu shrink-wraps to two or three items.
  • Innocence is a beautiful thing. So is a child’s laugh.
  • Everybody says children grow up too fast. It’s true.
  • Simple things now can trigger visions of the future and the past. Walking with her down the stairs prompts visions of weddings, for some reason. Watching her hit a baseball off a tee brings up ideas of softball. Seeing her dance makes me think of what my wife must have looked like at her age. And don’t get me started on her rifling through my wallet…
  • She’s very interested in microphones. I’m not sure what that means for her future.
  • I thought it would be relatively easy to say “no” on a fairly consistent basis. Sometimes it’s not. And watching your child get hurt or seeing her eyes well up can break your heart faster than anything.
  • You forget just how much you enjoyed some things as a kid until your child gets into them.
  • She likes holding my hand now. I’m waiting for the day when she doesn’t want to be seen in the same store with me.
  • I can watch the Wiggles for about 45 minutes after she has left the room before discovering I’m the only one singing “Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack Cock-A-Doodle-Doo.” And as soon as I turn to ESPN, she’ll run in and say, “Daddy, I was watching that.”
  • Getting instructed – or corrected – by a three-year-old just seems weird.
  • Butter – well, margarine spread – is more than a condiment. It’s a food group all by itself.
  • Speaking of food, the people who created Cinnamon Toast Crunch are geniuses. The people who created the cereal’s current ad campaign are more than a little warped. I’m not sure I crave those crazy squares that much.
  • I thought I had a good sense of what parenting takes, especially since I started the process after most of my friends did. Well, I thought I did.
  • Story time is a lot of fun, regardless of when it comes. Try changing up how you deliver a story, though, and you run into trouble.
  • I thought I’d cringe every time she’d say, “Daddy, I wanna help.” Instead, I smile. She handles project failures much better than I do. She just goes off to another “project.” I stifle cuss words and throw bubble wrap.
  • Justin Bieber is just as annoying the 350th time you hear his music as it is the first. “Baby, baby, oooooh.” Ugh.
  • The Land of Why isn’t in the same neighborhood as The Land of Are We There Yet, but it’s definitely in the same ZIP code.
  • It’s amazing just how fast your neck develops a swivel to better keep track of your child.
  • I have a new reason to practice my play-by-play delivery as often as possible: Sports Education 101.
  • I have the patience level and attention span of a three-year-old.
  • iCarly or Suite Life? iCarly wins hands down, thankfully. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Backyardigans? We’re split on that.
  • Certain things will automatically have you channeling your parents’ responses, although I haven’t told her, “You have a lot of explaining to do” just yet.
  • There are things I just can’t live without on a daily basis: food, water, a kiss from my wife and a hug from my daughter.
  • I need to stay on my toes…especially after I just get off the phone with Ron, tell her I was chatting with my boss and she retorts, “That was Mom?”

I love you, kiddo.

Happy Father’s Day.

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