Several weeks, a few dozen photos and four thousand words later, we’ve finally made it—the Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad 2017 wrap-up, filled with stories aplenty of 365 days spent in my not-so-orthodox life.
After wrapping the year up on a quiet note (because two sick children under five will do that to you), I still felt it necessary to do this. These year-to-year changeovers offer a lot of perspective for me—with so much happening all the time, I often forget what I had for breakfast, so I write everything down. And if the height of the pile on my desk is any sign, 2017 was quite the year. But it’s also the time where I’m the most transparent, looking back objectively at everything I’ve done and celebrating successes, owning up to failures, hoping all the while that I’m somehow growing from the process.
But yeah—let’s do this as we did in 2016: look at the year in excruciating detail, figuring out what’s worth taking with me into 2018 versus what just don’t feel part of my world anymore.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me present—the 31 things I did well in 2017! Let’s get it!
You’ll often hear me joke that we’re simply graduating from the “Terrifying Threes” to the “What the Fours,” but no matter what comes out of your father’s cynical, hardened mouth, I want you to know that you’re a pretty great kid.
I’m plenty hard on you—your little brother is literally copying your every move right now, so I need you to be a good role model for him—but it’s all because I want you to become the best you possible. You won’t get this until you’re much, much older, but the time I spend as your Dad often makes me reflect on my childhood, realising much of what I hated my parents for back then became the life lessons that make me who I am today. It won’t be easy for you—unfortunately, I’ll likely make sure of it—but I hope you’ll eventually realise I’m doing it to make the best you possible.
Through our great moments—wrestling, cuddling and our excellent “Good Morning” routines for your classmates—and the not so great ones, like when you cry over things I don’t see as issues and or where you refuse to eat and later complain over your hunger… I hope we can sit down sometime in the future, laughing about this over a beer.
You make me laugh, make me shout, and on the rare occasion make me cry (but I don’t break easy, sir), but I’m happy to call you my son and it’s great to see what you contribute to your world. You’re clever, compassionate and really good at making friends—though my focus is on rules, manners and obedience, you have what it takes to become a far better person than your Dad is, and I hope you always know that.
What the Fours — Let’s Make This an Amazing Year!
It’s hard to believe you’re already four, and even looking back at old photos and your younger brother, you already stand out so much as your own person. You’re a little ball of energy who loves experimenting with his hands, and the more I learn about you, the more I want to support your strengths and interests so you never live a life that doesn’t align with your values.
All that said, happy birthday to you. You’ve celebrated with Mom and ate an opulent McDonald’s dinner as per your request. I hope you’ve had a great day, kiddo—here’s to many more!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
I’ll look back at this in the future and laugh, but I have a stubborn toddler refusing to do away with diapers. We’ve tried it all—using a sticker chart to reward every #2; promising every Paw Patrol toy under the sun if only he’d learn to use the toilet… even jealousy by putting his baby brother on the potty for some elimination communication, but nothing’s quite stuck.
But we can’t just give up—diapers aren’t a good look for kindergarten kids, so we’ve got just under a year to help him say the magic words:
“I’m ready for underwear!”
See, the transition from infancy to childhood need not be so difficult—parenting in 2016 offers so many options, and Pampers takes full advantage of this with their brand-new Easy Ups training pants—the better way to underwear!