The Day David Attenborough Ruined My Life

(Getty Images/Mathias Schaef)

Up until a few days ago, I lived a jovial and carefree life with my two sons, tossing the football in the front yard or reading Harry Potter inside blanket forts. That all changed when David Attenborough opened his big stinking mouth.

Recently, my little dudes and I have been on a Planet Earth kick. Every day I come home from work, catch my breath, and then we start Planet Earth II, something we did with the original series a while back.

The original Planet Earth was great. The second installment is more of what works, plus better visuals, like riding on the back of hawks or seeing more snow leopards. Then we get nature in new locations, like “Cities.” We also get a bolder David Attenborough, as each new episode ends with a rebuke directed at dumbass humans hell-bent on destroying the world.

In addition to his boldness, Attenborough gets a little racy in the final episode of the series, when he makes a joke about “sex in the city.” Now, about 80 percent of the show is devoted to some bird of paradise or earthworm trying to get its bone on, but nowhere in the series had the word sex been uttered.

“What is sex?” my seven-year-old son asks.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: The father thinks if he sits tremendously still, the questioner may move on.

“What is sex in the city?” my son follows up.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: Not this time.

I froze during examination, like that scene from Jurassic Park, like maybe if I didn’t move, we could all just move along. My neck turned 180 degrees like a barn owl up at my wife sitting behind me. We matched “what do we do” looks.

I turned back around and said quietly to him, “We’ll talk about it later.”

Later that night, I whispered to my wife, “What do we do?” This was not a conversation I was looking forward to having, like, ever really. Definitely not before his eighth birthday. But I remember not ever having that conversation with my own father.

I didn’t want to jump the gun or start too soon like we did with Harry Potter—we got stuck on Goblet of Fire shortly after Mr. Muggle gets avada kedavred. But I thought if our kids were going to trust the option to talk to us—something I encourage all the time—we couldn’t just say, “We’ll talk when you’re older,” or ignore their questions. And I don’t really want some second grader explaining to my kid how peeing on girls gets them pregnant.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: To be clear, the human male must actually pee in a female to get her pregnant.

“All right, pal,” I said when we were alone. “Remember that question you asked me earlier?” I felt desperate to snake-shimmy out of my own skin. He didn’t remember until I said that word again—sex.

“Oh yeah.”

The plan was to go as far as he wanted to with the query. If he had one question and that was “what is sex?” then I would do my best to offer a first-grade-worthy explanation and be done with it. If he had more questions, I would do the same until he wearied of the topic. I tried to keep things simple—keep things to a Planet Earth, animal kingdom-type description of intercourse: “Sex is something that moms and dads do to have babies,” I said and thought, usually only on dad’s birthday.

“Oh,” my son said contemplating. And he had never looked older in his life. After a pause: “What is it?”

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: He’s in for it now.

“Okay, bud, well,” I said, “you know boy and girl bodies are different right?” I had to say the word penis and then say, well, you know girls don’t have those. He has a little sister, so he knows.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: Haha. Penis.

At this point I kind of just blacked out and said something like “Well, boys and girls have different parts and they use them to make babies.”

He was quiet. I could tell he was a little uncomfortable and confused.

“Do you feel weird talking about it?” I asked.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: This young male is ready to move on.

We laughed and wrapped up the conversation. “Well, I just want you to know you can talk to me. If you ever have any more questions, I want you to come talk to me and not your buddies. And I don’t want you to talk to your brother (who is five). He can talk to me when he has his own questions.”

The talk (or chapter one of the talk) was uncomfortable, but it was a good learning experience for us both, and I really think now that we have a good base to build from. Things should only get easier from here.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: You could cut the naiveté with a bowie knife.

Artist Wife Illustrates The Drastic Ways Her Husband’s Life Changed After Kids

(Facebook/MessycowComics)

Chen Weng, an illustrator who goes by the name The Messycow, has created a series of comics showing just how much things change when one becomes a father.

Which do you relate to most?

(Facebook/MesscowComics)
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(Facebook/MesscowComics)

Check out more from this series on The Messycow’s Facebook page and website.

Dad Dinosaur: Prehistoric Reunion

Dad Dinosaur’s high school reunion is fast approaching, but will he be able to win the big dance contest – or are his moves stuck in the past?

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Father Figures: Risky Business

“As the garage door closed behind me, I heard a muffled whimper.

“What is that?” I wondered. Another whimper and I noticed eight fingers on the lid of one of the garbage cans in the corner. I spy a set of eyes, then a nose and finally my oldest son’s face.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

“What happened? Where is your brother?” No answers, just sobbing.

He moped toward the door and I followed him into the kitchen. I half-expected to see CSI investigators hovering over a chalk outline.

We walked around the corner by the refrigerator, and only then did I see his brother and allow myself to take my first breath. Then I saw a hole in the drywall the size of a young boy’s torso.

They had been running & sliding, in their stocking feet, across the marbled kitchen floor. Obviously a bit too exuberantly! I was relieved that they were both okay, but I still mustered enough anger to quash any future escapades.

Each blamed the other, of course. I used to say I couldn’t always tell when my kids were lying, but I could always tell when they were telling the truth.

If that makes any sense to you, I’m guessing you’ve raised at least two boys.”

  • Ron Fuller

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

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

(Twitter/tombobnyc)
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(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

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

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
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(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
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(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.