Chef Boyardee and the Justice League: No meatballs for girls

What do my kids eat these days? Buttered noodlesEggo waffles. The occasional Wonder Woman sandwich. Mac & cheese. Quesadillas. McGriddles (yeah, we got back together with McDonald’s).

It’s a limited menu, and I’m always looking for ways to mix it up. Lucky for us, the Justice League of America has joined forces with Chef Boyardee to bring us Super Hero Shapes pasta!

And it’s not just Batman, Superman and the Flash. Joining the fight against boring pasta shapes are Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Woman (cue that awesome theme music from Batman v Superman). Good luck finding a female superhero on a Marvel food product.

We snapped up several cans when we first saw these at the grocery store, mostly the ones featuring Batman but also Supergirl and Wonder Woman. That’s when I noticed the weird difference between the “boy” and “girl” cans. Continue reading Chef Boyardee and the Justice League: No meatballs for girls

Never let go of your Pre-Dad Self

The tallest water slides in Arizona are two miles from my house. In order to ride them, you have to be a guest at the pricey Arizona Grand Resort. When some friends got married there this summer, I jumped at the chance to get a room on the cheap.

The morning before the wedding, my wife was busy because always. But her parents were at our house early to watch the kids, leaving me with a couple free hours. I buzzed over to the resort, suited up and spent a solid hour trotting up four stories of stairs and plunging down the punishing Free Fall and Roadrunner water slides.

It left me tired and bruised. It’s also the best thing I did for my mental health all summer.

Why? Because deep down, I’m still a 12-year-old boy who has no regrets about breaking his nose in a water-slide collision with his brother. Because a part of me still believes George Carlin when he says, in the opening monologue of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, that the value of a civilization will be measured by its quantity of excellent water slides.

george-carlin-rufusNow water slide boy faces a threat more dangerous than reckless horseplay. From the dark realm of mommy blogs comes a chilling mandate — Dear Pre-Mom Self: It’s time to let you go. Continue reading Never let go of your Pre-Dad Self

I took my daughter into a Target restroom. What we learned about ‘Trans’ will blow your mind

Today all my social medias are blowing up about the public restrooms at Target stores. Ignoring it all, I took my kids to Target because we have a houseguest who needed some stuff. Also, we’re on the hunt for the new 2016 Imaginext toys.

After a few minutes, I heard the inevitable: “Daddy, I have to go poo-poo.” I could barely believe my little daughter. That hobbit had a good-size plopper earlier this morning. But I know better than to call a 2-year-old’s bluff.

Isn’t there some controversy I’m supposed to be worried about? I wondered, as we walked into the restroom. But we were the only people in there, so whatevs. Continue reading I took my daughter into a Target restroom. What we learned about ‘Trans’ will blow your mind

SuperHero Girls? Mattel already makes badass girl toys

Alongside New York Comic Con, Mattel just unveiled DC SuperHero Girls. The 12-inch dolls and 6-inch action figures are designed by women, based on real-world female athletes instead of male-fantasy comic drawings.

With Wonder Woman front and center, Mattel hopes the new toy line can make up for declining Barbie sales and their soon-to-expire Disney licenses. I’m excited. I have a 2-year-old daughter whose main motivator in life is to equal her brother, a Batman-obsessed 4-year-old.

Mattel
(From left) Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Bumblebee.

Mattel has a spotty record on dolls AND superheroes. Barbie has struggled to find progressive footing as long as I’ve been alive, and the new Batman Unlimited toys have the Caped Crusader fighting crime with an uninspired arsenal of robot animals. I don’t care what anyone says — the real Batman would never attack Solomon Grundy with an axe he just pulled from the back end of a tiny rhinoceros.

Still, I’m confident Mattel will knock DC Superhero Girls out of the park. It’s not just that they brought a bunch of real girls into the design process or even that they have incredibly deep well of female characters to draw from (their online cartoons already feature Katana, Catwoman, Star Sapphire and Jinx among others).

You see, Mattel has been making badass girl toys for years. You just didn’t notice because they were hidden in the preschool boys’ stuff. Continue reading SuperHero Girls? Mattel already makes badass girl toys

The stay-at-home question

Nobody asked me if I was going back to work. I wasn’t. Not for long, anyway.

Right before I became a dad, I sat down with my boss and a bigger boss for an annual performance review. It had been a bad year. I took an unwelcome job change in place of a promotion I wanted. The company’s latest round of layoffs had booted several of my friends, and the bigger boss used it to justify me not getting a raise. The company’s vision for my future: more copy-paste busywork.

Meanwhile, my wife was approaching triple my salary at her law firm, and she actually enjoyed a lot of the work. Her benefits included 12 weeks paid maternity leave, while I exhausted my vacation and sick time to spend nine days with a newborn Champ.

My choice to stay home seemed so obvious that I thought everybody at work saw it coming. Yet nobody grilled me about child-care plans while my wife had to reassure a lot of nervous partners that, yes, she was coming back to work.

As a Cosmopolitan editor points out, women get this a lot, and they’re sick of it. Continue reading The stay-at-home question