How Video Games Have Improved My Relationship With My Kids

(Getty/ Future Publishing/Contributor)

I remember getting a Nintendo for Christmas when I was a kid, the old Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt two-pack—that mocking dog. What I remember most is watching my dad—Mr. cool California sports guy—play Mario Bros. What a nerd. Every jump brought his hands from his lap to his chin. And there was a whole lot of jumping going on as he had to smash every single brick, just in case it was hiding something.

(source – Giphy)

That Nintendo lasted three weeks in our home. My parents said it was because we fought over who would play or because we didn’t do our chores, but I have a hunch it had something to do with Sir Bricks-A-Lot.

I continued to dabble in video games after that. I have a black belt in Mortal Kombat. I still have the highest score in the Warehouse on Tony Hawk Pro Skater. And like everyone else, I think I’m the best at MarioKart, ranging from Nintendo 64 to the Wii—only I really am. Video games are fun to play when there’s nothing else to do, but I have never personally owned a console. That is until now.

We decided to buy our sons a Super Nintendo for Christmas, and it has been really fun watching them watch me play it. We opted for the retro SNES, which comes with about 20 games, because they wanted a console, and we wanted to avoid any type of scenario that involved them sitting down cross-legged in front of a television whispering commands into a headset.

The only game my boysages 5 and 7and I play “together” is Zelda: Link to the Past. We’re averaging about 35 minutes a day. I sit in a chair, three feet from the screen, while they run to the fridge and pick out the coldest Dr. Pepper Ten they can find and then stand directly in front of me, covering the screen with their giant heads, and scream, “You’re gonna die.”

Honestly, they have been helpful. For starters, they remember things. I ask, “Where are the fairies? Where’s the place with the rupees? Where’s my freaking Dr. Pepper?” They don’t forget. And once they found out we could bomb walls or mountains, they’ve been all over that too. Throw a bomb! Throw a bomb! Any time we get a new tool or weapon. “Use the weapon! Use the weapon!”

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I like to think they’re learning from this experience. First, they’re learning teamwork. I play the game. Boy 1 gets the stool for my laptop to sit on. Boy 2 gets my Dr. Pepper. We all shout at the TV. We all high five after knocking out some monster. Another thing they learn is humility. If I can’t figure out what to do in a new dungeon within 30 seconds, they force me to acknowledge my stupidity and urge me to the computer to search the walkthroughs. And finally, I think they learn that their dad is really cool and good at stuff—that’s important.

As of this writing, we’ve journeyed through worlds light and dark, found heart pieces, found that damn buried flute, and finally found out how to save the game without purposely getting killed. I swear I hit SELECT two hundred times before it started giving us that option. We now stand at the entrance of the final castle with our Titan’s mitts ready to punch Ganon right in the nards.

(source – Giphy)

We’ve still got a ways to go—keys to find, swear words to mutter under my breath, deaths to blame on the big heads standing in front of me—but when our 16-bit adventure comes to a close, I like to think that they’ll remember this quest; the three of us, huddled shoulder to shoulder, working together, being buds—a fine return on overpaying for nostalgia.

Crocs Just Released High-Heels And People Are Losing It

(Tradesy)

Love them or hate them, Crocs are a staple of the dad community and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

However, in a recent turn of events, the infamous clog company released a surprising new model of footwear: the high-heel.

(Crocs)

Attempting to balance comfort and sophistication, the shoe looks about as glamourous as it can while still retaining the traditional Croc characteristics, and people are very split on whether or not they should exist.

Despite harsh reviews from critics and fashionistas as well as the steep $55 price tag, the newest version of Crocs are already selling out all over the place!

“Get all the fashion without sacrificing the comfort. Dress them up or down, and enjoy wherever the day takes you!” Crocs claims about the radical new heel. What do you think? Do these belong in a flaming dumpster fire or are you already eagerly buying early Christmas gifts?

The new ‘Cyprus V Heel’ is selling fast.

(Crocs)
(Crocs)

Some versions already selling out!

(Crocs)

 

And opinions vary quite a bit.

Grab a pair here now while you still can! Or do your best to erase this knowledge from your memory forever.

You know, either/or.

 

Father Figures: Timeless Toys

“At the ages of 8 and 10 years, my two boys became immersed in Cartoon Network’s “Hot Wheels Battle Force 5.”

They asked if I had the same cartoon/action figure fun when I was their age and I was happy to say yes.

I shared with them my 1980’s memories of MASK and how close the two toys lines followed each other. Our journey started there.

The three of us were able to return to my childhood home and venture through the attic storage, and we found the 80’s treasure right where I left them 25 years ago. We brought the collection home and cleaned the items up by hand, using the internet as a resource to match each character with his vehicle.

The journey continued as I watched the boys blend the two generations of toys together in their own universe, fueled by imagination. We were also able to find the DVD versions of MASK and HWBF5 and still sit down together to watch.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend time with my boys and blend the two generations together.”

– William Phillips

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Custom Watermelon Slicer Looks So Terrifyingly Awesome

(reddit/u/Texas12thMan)

If a guy with a missing finger told you he built a custom watermelon slicer that includes over a dozen massive kitchen knives, would you try it?

Are you kidding? No way.

What if that guy is your dad?

Oh, then absolutely. Here, let the kids try it first.

Wife’s dad built this watermelon slicer. from gifs

15 Hilarious Photos That Prove Kids Can Sleep Anywhere

(flickr/Pete Souza)

Not only are kids spoiled rotten with their near endless opportunities to nap, but most of them have the innate ability to fall asleep anywhere.

Seriously. ANYWHERE.

Here are 15 amazing photos of kids who just couldn’t wait to start counting those sheep.

A whole new meaning to "layover."

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What kind of masochistic napper is this??

(Imgur/dreadpirateciv)

To be fair, those White House chairs are super comfy.

(flickr/Pete Souza)

When you're so tired, even stopping to lay down is too much work.

(Reddit)

Let's be honest. If any of us could fit on a dog like this, we'd sleep there too.

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The tranquilizing effects of retail.

(Instagram/godsbella)

Eating yourself to sleep? That's the dream, kid.

(Reddit/zWeApOnz)

Don't eat the meatballs.

(napshappen.net)

The vampire snoozer.

(napshappen.net)

So close, yet...

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Either he's exhausted or that window smells amazing.

(Instagram/simwebb)

Sometimes you don't even have the energy to take your shoes off.

(napshappen.net)

You've heard of a "bed & breakfast," but have you ever tried a "sleep & shower"?

(Instagram/meaganjoy)

Have you tried sleeping at a 90 degree angle? It's all the rage with the kids.

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I mean, it's not like anyone else was using it.

(Instagram/katiebssydney)

Tweet Roundup: 10 Hilarious Tweets About Taking Your Family To The Beach

(Getty)

Sunshine. Seagulls. Fifteen-minute walks to the nearest toilet. Nothing like a day in the sand with your family. Tuck that wallet in those sneakers, here are 10 of the funniest tweets about taking your family to the beach.

Ahh, the beach.

Great for spending quality time with the kids.

But be sure to schedule this trip wisely…

and pack accordingly.

Now that you’re settled in, why not build a sandcastle?

Or make some new friends?

Maybe bury a loved one in the sand?

If they’re busy, a family pet will suffice.

If you’re gonna take a dip, safeguard your belongings.

And finally, always leave with a souvenir.

10 Times Baby Monitors Captured The Creepiest Things Ever

(Getty/MartinPrescott)

In theory, baby monitors are a great idea. You get to move about your house freely while keeping a watchful eye on your little bundle of joy.

But technology isn’t perfect. Between the grainy black and white night vision cameras and finicky audio channels that randomly pick up other frequencies, you’re bound to witness some creepy and, occasionally, inexplicable footage.

Here are 10 moments caught by baby monitors that totally creeped us out.

It's time to play "Is That A Bundle of Blankets Or The Ghost of Long Dead Infant?"

(Imgur)

Spines are supposed to bend that way, right?

(wikimedia)

Ok. Ummm, nope forever.

He gets his black, soulless eyes from his mother.

(wikimedia)

Is this a lulluby or exorcism situation?

The weirdest part is mom casually referring to her child as "stink bottom."

Oh, what beautiful eyes you have, possessed infant.

(reddit/u/Lynoctis)

Please tell me he has a twin... please tell me he has a twin...

(Instagram/siljewoods)

This is fine.

(Instagram/sweetmigliore)

His four demon eyes aren't weird. They're "unique."

(Pinterest)

 

Father Figures: Driving Lessons

“I’m a terrible driver.

No testament to my grandpa, who taught me how to drive – he was a teacher through and through, both by trade and by soul. He was forever clipping articles out of the paper that he thought would teach us something, and that got passed down to my dad naturally.

Neither were overly emotional men, preferring to demonstrate how much they loved us through teaching us things, rather than simply stating it. Just as valuable, not as obvious. 

One day my dad and I were sitting in the driveway in his Honda Pilot, ready for a driving lesson (my grandpa was busy that day). He tried to calm me but I was nervous. I mixed up the gas and brake pedals and – in slow motion yet also at lightening speed – drove straight through our garage door. 

Yeeeeeah. 

The splinters and beams rained down around us, I think I was screaming, my mom came rushing out of the house. My dad got out of the car, calmly took my hand and led me down to our basement, where we sat on the couch and hugged and he told me it was okay. For this minute, it was just us in the basement and nothing outside mattered and everything was going to be okay. 

Fifteen years later, my marriage had fallen apart. I was living in another city and unreasonably petrified to face my parents and talk it through. Pulling in their driveway, it probably really was slow motion as the tears started to roll down my cheeks at the thought of rebuilding my life and having to explain to them what went wrong. 

My dad met me in the driveway, wordlessly unbuckled my daughter from the car seat, handed her to my mom, took my hand and led me to the basement. 

‘It’s okay,’ he said, voice wavering slightly. My eyes spilled over and I sobbed into his chest as he rocked me the way he had so many years ago. 

‘It’s okay. Right now, it’s just us down here. Nothing out there matters. It’s going to be okay.’ 

Nothing I expected, everything I needed. I love you Dad.” 

– Liz Vetrano

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com