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February 05, 2008


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Them to me: My family instilled in me the need to call everyone older than I mister, so I called the 11th graders on the bus "mister."

Me to them: Photographed my son breastfeeding his stuffed animal.


We didn't have much money when I was growing up so my mom used to dress me in hand-me-downs from my siblings.

The only thing was that I was the youngest son...with three older sisters!

Paul K.

If ti makes you feel any better, MD, I think I had the same bicycle as you!

Phil Jones

I've STILL got that bike!


One slice of processed cheese between two slices of dry Wonder Bread and a thermos of Tang for my entire fifth grade school year. That, and my fabulous bowl haircut to boot.


Insisting on cutting my bangs so short they stuck straight out, kind of like a visor. Mom also insisted on walking me to the bus stop up until nearly junior high. To top it all off, she would insist I kiss her goodbye. The nerve!

Yeah, I'm being dramatic about the bus stop, but the bangs thing was rather traumatic (at the time).


Overhearing my mom confiding in my beautiful and adored 4th grade teacher that "Velma sometimes pretends you are her big sister."


My mom was pretty tight with the dough when it came to school clothes, so I either wore girls' clothes from Sears or my brothers' hand-me-downs. And she used to cut my bangs so that they looked like a curtain about to close over my eyes. But what used to drive me the most crazy was when I was on the phone with my friends and trying to be cool and she would set an egg timer in front of me and as soon as the sand ran out, she would screech, "It's Time To Get Off the PHONE!"


My dad's work hours were more flexible too, so since they immigrated to the US, he sort of had your role in raising me more during my childhood. We went thrift store shopping for our clothes in the early '80s BEFORE, WAY BEFORE that was in vogue, and he insisted i wear a cowboy outfit, even though I am a girl. It was so clear that it was a boy's outfit - suede vest, corduroy pants, a button down shirt. My dad is artsy, so he thought it made me look really classy and different. Whenever I wore that outfit - I wore it to picture day, people always assumed my older brother had a younger brother - me.

Oh yeah, home haircuts until junior high and dorky clothes until my friend helped me discover the Gap Outlet in jr. high.

But, I have to say, whenever I had problems with my friends, I would always tell him after school cuz I always hung at at his violin making shop, and he would give me good advice and cheer me up. I have fond memories.

I wouldn't feel bad about dressing your little kids like dorks with mismatched outfits and the like, because I feel that childhood is the only time you can really get away with the ugliest and dorkiest clothes and still look so adorable and cute in them! I have my share of outfits and it gives me a fuzzy feeling to look at old photographs. I would rather that experience than be perfectly dressed in Ralph Lauren and Gymboree.


I used to carry my lunch to school in a Wonderbread bag. They were the same bags we used to put on our feet over our socks but under our shoes when it rained.


Driving a gigantic flesh-colored Buick with white vinyl seats. And wearing curlers out in public, ever so discreetly covered in one of those little pocket-sized disposable plastic rain bonnets. She was THIRTY THREE when she had me and just the fact that she was SO VERY OLD embarrassed the hell out of me. It was the 70s; all my friends' parents had them at 17 and 18, so they were COOL. I swore I would NEVER have a child at 33; that was just CRUEL.

So I waited until I was 36 instead.

Stephen Joyce

Wow, this is like reading my life story. Like you, I try to play a bigger role in the raising of my two daughters and I sometimes wonder what kind of impact I'm having on their formative minds.

Anyway, the story that always brings tears of laughter to my wife is the one of my very first St. Patrick's Day. My family moved from Malaysia to Canada in 1977 and it was my first year at a public school. Since the tradition for St. Patrick's Day is to wear something green, my Mom thought it would be great if I went to school in an all green outfit, oh heck, how about a leprechaun outfit. Yep, that's right, my Mom sewed me a full on leprechaun outfit complete with a little hat and shoes, all made out of felt. Did I mention the green tights. Needless to say, there is nothing quite as hilarious to a group of second graders than a little Asian kid wearing green tights and walking around in the miserable March rains wearing green felt slippers. For added embarrassment, my second grade teacher ask me to stand on my chair so that all the kids could have a good look at my costume. Nice.


my dad showed up to an 8th grade dance to pick me up. 20 minutes early. wearing giant orange ear protectors.
like the kind baggage handlers wear so that the jet engines don't hurt their ears.

he stood there with a silly smile on his face and his hands tucked under his arms while he waited for me.

Crystal In Southeast Texas

You win Stephen!! All hail the Asian Leprechaun!


Peanut will talk about you to her therapist. But at lease she’ll be talking about all the strange things you did to her and how you embarrassed her, as apposed to talking about how she never knew her dad. Tons of women spend thousands trying to deal with the fact that they had no dad, or a dad who was never there even though he came home and slept there every single night. You are a great dad Metro. You know how I know? You care enough to think about those things. You spend time with that little girl and that’s what’s important. Let her worry about the rest of it later. Truly, she may need a bit of therapy, but it will most likely be how you avoided putting her in pink clothes as an infant and she wonders if you had a black clothes obsession. As parents (or Aunties) we embarrass them, but it just shows that we care.

Now for your question: The most embarrassing thing my dad did was tell the whole family (on Thanksgiving) how he taught me about the birds and the bees. On a fishing trip, I’d asked him what the lady bugs were doing on top of each other and he told me. Not a big deal, but having it repeated at every family event for the last 17 years has made an impact. I have others, but I’ll never share.

I don’t have kids, but I do have nieces and I embarrass the heck out of them whenever possible. But photographic evidence of the horrible outfits they choose to wear out and about at two years old and the sitting on the toilet completely nekkid, reading a newspaper upside down, are staying in the vault, until they hit 16 or so. Then that shit will be out and displayed for all future boyfriends to see.


Hi MD,

I don't have a funny story to share, but I do think that Stephen Joyce deserves your special prize as I have been CRYING with laughter for the better part of 5 minutes at his comment!



My guess is, if your family is anything like mine, that those things that embarrass the hell out of your kids will at the same time be their fondest memories.

How else could I look back on the time my father put the cat inside the piano and then giggled while I searched for wherever its meowing came from and smile? Or think fondly of the uncle who'd say "Give me a kiss" and then when you tried to, he'd push his false teeth into your mouth.

Just two examples off the top of my head.


Just read Stephen's comment... okay maybe SOME memories won't end up being fond ones.


This is actually my husband's story but as I was the recipient of the punch line I get to share it:)

My husband is the youngest of 4, by several years. His parents were 40 and 52 when he was born & according to him it seemed as if they had decided to do all those "wouldn't it have been funny if we had.." things that occurred to them too late with the older kids. When he was about 4 he was sitting on the toilet and slid himself back too far and fell in. He was stuck there, being too small to leverage himself out. He called out for help and his Mom & Dad came running. Instead of immediately helping him out, his Dad went for the camera and took pictures first.

When his mother showed me these photo years later, the second time I had ever met her, she told me "We took them because we had wished we had thought to do it when one of his older sisters had the same thing happen." Given that the older sister & her friends were there at the time, my future MIL got a two for one embarrassment out of that story.


1. my dad cutting my bangs when i was a kid with kitchen scissors (of course, which Asian kid didnt go through this?) this is why i pay someone $300 bucks to do my hair now.
2. my dad SCREAMING at my guy friends who would call to discuss homework because boys should NOT be calling girls (in broken english, nonetheless!)
3. my dad SCREAMING at me and my friend because we dressed up for a pep rally. the theme was hippie day, so i wore bell bottoms. He screamed at me and asked why the hell was I doing "MARI-WANA!!!!"

ah - all those years of being embarrassed by my parents, not only because they were parents, but because they couldnt speak english, and because they didnt understand "american culture." as bad as i thought it was at the time, they did do a great job in raising me and teaching me everything i needed to know to succeed in life. right?

i cant wait to embarass the hell out of this kid when he's born. =)


I think the Asian Leprechaun deserves to win!



I love the image of the little asian leprechaun :)

As for bad haircuts...
I'm of completely german descent, so I'm pasty white 3/4 of the year, and as a small child my hair was white-blonde and as board straight as it is to this day.

For some inexplicable reason, my mother decided that from the age of one thru the time when I finally demanded that she stop it and pony up for a real haircut, she would cut it with straight, heavy bangs, pointed sideburns, and an overall 'round' shape (which only emphasized my enormous german head).

It was only revealed later, when Star Trek TNG came on, that she had been giving me 'Romulan' hair-doos for years! (I still have pix for proof)

Of course, as a stay at home dad, I'm now cutting Teufelkind's hair :O


No prizewinning memories come to mind, but my mom totally sent me to school with a Tupperware full of dumplings. And one time, between my departure on the school bus and lunch time, they even attracted ants. AWESOME.

So, unrelated, but I was totally offended by that panda bear commercial during the Super Bowl. Thoughts?


My entire childhood was embarassemnt so it hurts my head trying to think of one sentinel moment. Perhaps spending Christmas at an all-Jewish-resort save for one Asian family in the Catskills. No, there was much worse.

I like the Leprechaun one too.


These stories are all so hysterical. I keep coming back to read more!


Them to me: The time my father said to me, upon the occasion of my first "training bra" shopping trip,

"what are you going to train them into, [the shape]of little stars?"

This was said in front of my MAJOR middle school crush...

Me to him - thus far:Not much really, unless you count the turtle costume I made him wear for Halloween.He couldn't see around corners and kept on bumping into door jams - He is only 18 months old, I've got time.


Most embarrassing memory (caused by my parent): My bearded, hippie dad showing up at my grammar school talent show dressed in a daishiki and Birkenstocks (showcasing his ugly-ass toe bunions, nonetheless).

The most embarrassing thing I've done to my daughter: Well, nothing I can think of.

However, my daughter embarrassed the hell out of me by farting audibly in a crowded elevator, then stating, "I farted." Awkward, muffled laughs ensued.

Love that you bathe your dog and daughter together. That'll save the planet for sure!


Embarrasing my kid: When she was about 3, we went to the grocery store and I dropped a jar of baby food -- it exploded everywhere. Along came the clerk to clean up. Oh well, it happens.

Then we were standing in line at the checkout and I dropped a whole jar of pickles -- it also exploded everywhere. Along comes the SAME clerk to clean up. I was mortified, so I said, loudly to my daughter, "I told you that you had to be careful!"


I loved this post, it was so well written and fun to read. No stories, just wanted to say you're such a gread dad and the peanut is so lucky!

My vote is with the asian leprechaun too.


With all of the stories about bangs, I have to share mine. My mom insisted I have bangs growing up (preschool to 4th grade) and they were the stick straight line kind of bangs too. For picture day she always tried to curl them (just the bangs) and in order to keep the curl she'd spray them till they were crispy. I hated it. So almost every picture during those early years has me rocking post 1980s lacquered bangs.
Another embarrassing story concerns me and my horrible sense of fashion growing up. If only, if ONLY my mother had been more blunt instead of cherishing me for the creative and 'fashion forward' child I was, she could've saved me the horror of remembering that I wore JNCO jeans.
Mine sort of looked liked that except that they had white and blue swirls leading to the bottom of the shoe covering hem.
Oh moms. Since my mom's death almost 2 years ago, I look at that embarrassment and social torment as someone who just loved me for me.

I am scarred by my most embarrassing moment caused by my dad's insisting that we have a farting contest while sitting in his state police cruiser, waiting for my mom to finish her shopping in IKEA. With each turn of flatulence, the car got more green with smoke as my final "in your face, pops!" turned out to be an "in your pants, kid!" Yup, pooped my pants in the back of dad's police car and had to walk into IKEA, find my mom, and flush my skivvies down the toilet. Thanks for the memories, and now the therapy!

Woman with Kids

Oh, hands down when my father explained that they named me 'Joy' for all the fun they had making me, to a boy I had a *huge* crush in... I was 13 and mortified.


My first day of school, I wore a hand-crocheted orange, yellow, and brown argyle vest, a pair of forest green polyester bellbottoms, and the brand new elkhide moccasins my mom made for the occasion, complete with fringe, and my long hair braided into two Heidi-on-crack braids. I walked into the room, and by recess all the logger's children wanted to know why I had blonde hair if I was an Indian (this was before the term Native American came into widespread use). I'm sure you can imagine the fun that ensued playing cowboys and Indian for the rest of my school life. Too bad pacifism was a hippie thing, learning to kick ass would have come in handy. Geez, and now Mendocino county is home to the wealthy and hip - things have certainly changed :P

I currently have burned to disk and on each of my computers my favorite picture of my daughter a couple years ago: Wearing some fabric and pillowcases, with a new pull-on diaper on her head and grinning her butt off. I'm showing it to every boy she ever wants to date. Must put a disk in the safe deposit box, come to think of it.... (evil chortle)


I never ever embarrass my kids. I'm just lying in wait until I can get them good when they're 12.

My mom made me wear a corduroy jumper with an embroidered clown patch right on the front to picture day one year. I hate corduroy to this day. Don't get me started on clowns. She also convinced me that the octagonal gold rim glasses were "cool" when I was 8 years old. Glasses shaped like stop signs: Stop here and stare at me as you laugh your ass off!


5th grade landismom--sparkly silver shoes and a denim skirt with stars on the pockets.

I actually ran away from school, the teasing was so bad.


Oh wow, with all the stories of bowl haircuts, why were none of you in MY school? I had a bowl haircut that made me look like a boy. Making that worse was the fact that I was dressed in my older brother's hand me downs. I knew I was a girl, and never realized how much I looked like a boy until I was in a public restroom (in the ladies' room) and I came out of a stall and the woman coming into the restroom gasped and exclaimed, "oh my gosh, I'm in the men's room". I just kind of stared at her and said, "no, it's the ladies' room" and she said "but you're a boy" and I just started to cry and said "I'm a girl! I'm a girl!" When I told my mom the story, she thought it was hysterical and told the rest of my family.

If only THAT was what I talked to my therapist about. . .

Someone once told me "when you get older, you'll understand your parents better". Well, I'm older now and I think I understand them less. This comment I think, applies to people who didn't understand why they couldn't spend the night with their friends w/o their parents home, or not being able to stay out past 10pm, but some stories are better left as "those people were not qualified to be parents".
metrodad, you are not that parent.

BTW - I was in the doctor's office and saw you being quoted in parent magazine. Okay, apparently I was naive and ignorant about your wide spread fame. :)


Them to me: All the weird cars that we had. Our driveway was your typical junk yard. My dad was always working on several clunkers and we lived in one of those nice new subdvisions! We even had a pinto from one of our neighbors that they wanted to get rid of, my dad insisted to pay them $100. We also had a purple cadillac with fins, an old cop car, and many, many others that were always breaking down.

Also my dad liked to go through the neighbor's garbage (again in this nice new subdivison) and I remembered he found a bike from a neighbor I was friends with. He fixed it up and still rides it to this day (25 years ago!).

Actually all of this sounds kinda cool now but not so much when you are preteen/teen.

Me to them: I think I am starting to embarass my son (he just turned 5). I called one of his friend's "hon" and my son kinda rolled his eyes.


Another awesome post, MD! I'd share my own stories but I'm still working through them.


Oh MD -- didn't I just try to quantify my influence in last nights post? And wasn't that all Metrodad referential already. Now this??

Get OUT OF MY HEAD. What are you my therapist?

And let's compare tags:
Me: because I think about stuff too much
You: Don't think too much, Einstein

Small world but varied.


By the way how come we never see you award these much ado prizes? When am I going to see you in a photo surrounded by vacu-sealed treats and a Fed Ex guy about to ship them off to some lucky winner? When??


I love how much time you clearly spend thinking about being a father. As an older mom of a different generation, it's so refreshing and enlightening. Keep it up, new dads! The times they are a changing.


I don't know that this is snort-worthy, but I totally feel you on the child-of-an-immigrant thing. AND the different gender roles. My dad is Colombian -- moved to the States with my mom right before I was born. She worked during the day, he worked at night, so he was the stay-at-home parent for me during the day. He put barrettes in my hair and made my lunches. And I can distinctly remember pining for cream cheese on bagels like OTHER kids...to my Colombian dad, there was no difference between cream cheese and sour cream. My whole childhood whenever I had a bagel from home, it was always a bagel with sour cream.

I can't tell you how thrilling it was when I was old enough to buy and make them myself, with honest to goodness cream cheese.


My parents divorced when I was 2 or 3 so my dad wasn't always "in the loop" as to what was going on in my life. When I was a young tween I flew to visit him, as we're hugging in the airport he rubs his hand across my back and (I swear) shouts "WHAT IS THIS?" It was a bra strap. I. Was. MORTIFIED.

Me to my kids: I dress them alike a lot. The 4 yo is a boy and the 2 yo is a girl. But still, being an only, I figure half the fun of having a sibling is dressing alike. There's also the time I let the son try on some clothes for his not-yet-born baby sister. I hit a big sale, so had purchased in a variety of sizes. His favorite? An orange & pink dress with matching bloomers and hat. I can't explain how much I LOVE those pictures.


Let's see... My parents thought waving bye-bye was passe so they taught me to "shake a leg" instead.

Also, here in California on roads with cliffs hanging over them, there are signs that says "Watch for Falling Rock." My mother convinced me that "Falling Rock" was an Indian who was killed as a young man and I was supposed to look for Falling Rock whenever possible. I believed it with all my heart until I told my best friend's mom. She laughed so hard she had to pull the car over.

Crystal In Southeast Texas

Sarah's training bra: "training them to be stars" is hysterical too! HAHAHAHAHAHA *sigh*

Lois Lane

Okay, I've never shared this story with anyone, but now's a good a time as any to come clean, so to speak.

We were on a family trip to Big Bear so we were all piled into the van for five hours each way. On the way home, I was parched but there wasn't a rest stop for miles so I just sat in the back and slept. When my parents changed drivers, I moved up to the passenger seat. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a Welch's grape soda staring seductively from the center cupholder. I reached for it anxiously and took a big sip... then spat it all over the windshield. No one told me that my baby brother had to pee a few miles back while I was sleeping. I'll leave it at that.

By the way, MD, I'm your new facebook friend Superha (my blog is now super secret on wordpress - email me your username and I'll add you to my safe list if you're interested). Lois Lane is my public blogging persona. :)

Little Bird

Mine involves my dad. He was the principal of my grade school. AND he taught 7th and 8th grade. Yeah, he was my teach. For this alone I was reviled.
My mother? Never truely embarrassed me. She tried not to. Dad was the one who dressed like a lumberjack at school. Yep, it's true. And yes, I know the Monty Python song. By heart.

asian leprechaun! LOL!!!


My mum, during my primary school years, picked out ALL my clothes for the morning. One day she sent me out of the house with a t shirt tucked into brown velour-y shorts that came a few inches above my knee... and wait for it... orangy brown knee-high socks. The school fashionistas were all snickering behind my back.


Oh. And I'd like to add, this was in the late 90's!

The shorts were hand-me-downs.

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