How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Maximumble: Use for Toys

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Call it a side effect, a byproduct or an outcome, but fatherhood can lead to some rad consequences. It’s the most responsibility and pressure you can earn, but it’s also a perfect opportunity. I see a lot of “dads are buddies” stereotypes. It can be confusing to witness. There’s a pervasive myth that we’re a bunch of half-grown children. While that may well be true, there is something powerful about creating and playing with your kids. Something that can’t be witnessed from a higher altitude. That something is love. Affinity or love is defined by closeness or proximity. If you love something, you want to be close to it. Parenting from an ivory tower in the mountains means messages are sent you never get to witness their receipt.

At least, that’s what I tell myself when I feel out playing with toys with my sons.

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Maximumble: Toy for Jimmy

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There’s no doubt about it. Becoming a parent opens the Jurassic Park doors of childhood fun. Between introducing your kids to things you grew up with and getting current with the coolest new toys and technology, it’s pretty awesome how much parenthood has to offer. I mean, yeah, the love, compassion and responsibility and all that is important and precious too, but the toys are RADDDD.

What’s been a favorite toy or childhood experience to introduce to your kids? What’s your favorite new toy or experience your kids have introduced you to?

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Maximumble: Hot Tails

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Sometimes, we tell our kids things for the sake of humor or because we don’t know. It’s kind of fun to re-imagine things and tell a story to our kids. But I’ve had it backfire on me. My brother, for example, tells me that I told him a story growing up about mayonnaise. Apparently, and these claims are alleged, I told him that mayonnaise came from whale sperm.

Now, I’ve never told my 5-year-old where mayonnaise comes from but I have invented fun ideas about how the world works. Hopefully, none that will prevent him from eating or doing things later. Sorry, bro!

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Maximumble: Monster Under the Bed

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It’s easy to dismiss kids and their amazing imaginations. Sometimes they are off in the stratosphere when it comes to reality. But isn’t that something we want to encourage to some degree? If we can ground our kids in the nature of what is real, but give their dreams, and not their nightmares, the freedom to bloom — I think we’ve done a pretty damn good job.

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Maximumble: Play with Food

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I can’t tell whether the thing my sons do with food could be considered playing with it, but they sure do mess around with it. Is there such a thing as food bullying? In an event, distracted eating seems to be a universal theme.

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Maximumble: Baby Brother Toys

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As a brother myself, I have some idea of how hard things are for Finn. A new, smallish person invaded his life and he was forced to share his parents. It’s brutal. But nothing says brotherly love like seeing his younger brother, Arden, grab for one of his toys.

Did you have a sibling? How’d that go at first?

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Maximumble: Band-Aid Parent

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Sometimes I walk into work and it’s like everyone knows I have kids. Maybe it’s the stains on my clothes or bags under my eyes. I can feel the child-free eyes boring holes into my soul. And then I remember that these things are badges. They’re my contribution to those without children. Scaring them into realizing that kids are not a simple, capricious thing — it’s like I was born for this. I’m absent of embarrassment about all this. I’m just trying to be better for my kids. Ninja turtle band-aids and all.

Fatherhood is wearing a Mickey Mouse bandaid on your forehead. #backtothefuture

A photo posted by Charlie N Andy HowToBeADad.com (@howtobeadad) on

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Maximumble: Dessert

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Obviously, Chris Hallbeck has been to my house before. Or many times. I literally could not get my older son, Finn, to eat anything even if I were dying of a gunshot wound or some disease that could be cured by eating new foods.

But I like Chris’ style. I, too, wouldn’t be able to hear my son’s whining about eating new foods over all that fudge. Just add fudge.

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Maximumble: Pajamas

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Listen, having an imagination is serious business. We enter into this bond of pretend play with our kids, and its easy to lose sight of the fact that this fiction is FOR REAL. Ask a kid. Sometimes, they won’t be able to discern truth from the invention. And its a beautiful thing. As long as we know we’re pretending, it’s not delusion.

But kids have the best form of delusion. They can live in fantasy and create new worlds, new people. Let them have that, if only for a moment, and when they question your commitment — you gotta double down on it.

Because you aren’t messing around if you’re playing around. Dive in, head and heart first.

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FROM THE ARTIST, CHRIS HALLBECK:
“My son got a balloon sword with a guard on the handle. How would that work? The balloon would pop the first time the other blade hit it!”

Pretty much sums it up for me.

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Maximumble: Germs

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Kids seem to fall on one of two sides when it comes to being gross. Intentionally gross or accidentally gross. Some of us would dump agent orange on our homes if it meant no one would ever come down with an illness again. But we all know kids will keep bringing their microscopic stowaways with them.

About 10 days after Arden was born, we all got a stomach flu. Everyone, except our little baby, fell ill one by one. It was a symphony of sick. A few months later, Finn remarked, “Dada, you remember when I threwded up? I was like a fountain.”

When you have kids, be ready for the sickness circus coming to town.

SEE MORE FROM THE ARTIST, CHRIS HALLBECK!

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