In hip hop parlance, a cypher is a circle where emcees and b- boys display their skills, or lack thereof.   BET has co-opted the term to produce a series of rhyming sessions and, predictably, they’ve been hit and miss.

My favorite to watch, though, is the Mos Def, Black Thought and Eminem cypher of  ’12.  The cypher pitted 3 of the top lyricist of all time, one after another.

If you ask me, BT got it.  What’s undeniable, though, is the way the game was elevated by keeping the cypher fire. It’s in this spirit, BigBrownDad.com opens up the mic to fellow Big Brown Dad and Occidental alum, Ed.Word. 

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When Dads Watch Their Kids…Don’t Call It Babysitting 

When my wife isn’t around and I’m fortunate enough to spend quality time with my two beautiful children, things don’t always go by the book.

Before I get into specifics I want to be clear, I love my two sons, Xavier (2) and Lorenzo (1).

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Photo: Mom Stylist: Dad

Having two boys back to back is awesome, they’re fun, energetic, funny, cute little boys, but we are not yet at the stage where we can all three just sit in our underwear and binge watch SportsCenter episodes.  They’re at least 10 years away from allowing me to “take a nap”  while they play in the back yard, we aren’t playing catch yet, they’re too young to color without decorating the table, and frankly we can’t even have a real conversation that doesn’t involve one of us crying.  Basically, my job at this stage is to make sure they don’t die, slip, fall, poke out an eye or swallow a penny.  That’s a lot of pressure and if you want to see a Dad implode, do what my Wife did and add a ‘Baby Book’ into the mix.

In our house, the Baby Book is a detailed log similar to Capt. Kirk’s Star Gate log in which any and everything is recorded, annotated, and documented for accountability purposes.  How long did he nap, face down or on his side?Eat some Nilla Wafers? Write it down.  Drop a deuce? Write it down.  Choke on a celery stick, a possible allergen? Write it down.  How much did he eat? What color was the poop? Shape? Consistency? Lunacy?

Now don’t get me wrong when we started out with our first child and our first Dr. visits we were asked about quantity and quality of poop and food, and felt bad when we couldn’t provide exact answers, so naturally my wife being the excellent mother that she is, thought to take it a step further and just “play it safe”, so she started writing down… EVERY THANG! Every Dr. visit that followed opened up with a reading from THE book similar to a legal deposition.

So all that to say from the moment my wife clicks the garage door open to make her exit the first thing I grab is the Baby Book and start filling it out with a bunch of generic entries, fake info and erroneous timestamps, it’s very similar to my log at work which I also feel is a gross overreach by the powers that be to make me explain what I am doing when we all know I’m on Facebook reading BigBrownDad food reviews. If I speak with a colleague about the game last night that becomes “analyze data” with Bob from accounting.  If I surf the web for three hours that’s also known as troubleshooting a network issue with IT.

However, instead of rewording what actually happened as in my work entries, I fill in THE BOOK and paint a beautiful picture of what she would like to see: Breakfast at 9:00am -organic hand tossed pancakes with essence of shredded banana and freshly squeezed pear juice (a good source of fiber)  followed by a fresh diaper at 9:26:41am, walk around the neighborhood in my City Select jogger stroller (back at 9:57:22am), small snack of vanilla yogurt and fresh cut strawberries before nap time which includes contemporary jazz playing lightly in the back ground.

All this is recorded for my wife to see and believe me she needs to see it, if it isn’t written down it doesn’t exist, nope, never happened.

When my wife returns and sees us three playing with stuffed animals and giggling, she glances at THE Book and rests assured the day was filled with safe clean organic cage free fun.  What she doesn’t know is… and I will draw and quarter the Teddy Cam if he ever snitches…is for the six hours she was gone we all ate handfuls of plain Cheerios and watched TV in separate rooms.

Hey! Don’t judge, if you wanted top notch daycare you should’ve hired a nanny.  A Nanny has standards, a lesson plan, a grab bag of tricks and anecdotes.  A Nanny has a professional reputation to live up to, this is how she eats.

One bad yelp review and his/her career is over.

I’m a Dad, you can’t fire me, I’m here come hell or high water.   I’m a Dad- when we watch our own don’t call it babysitting- you’re setting the bar too high

Eddie Gorton is the lucky dad of Xavier and Lorenzo, the last two years have been filed with tears of joy and pain as his life is an array of endless daddy duties and sleepless nights.  Eddie, a two time “#1 Dad” award winner, is an Instructional Coach for LA unified, rocks a psychology degree from Occidental College and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Cal State L.A.  He looks forward to the day when his two sons are old enough to wash the cars. 

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