Kids Archives - 2 Dads with Baggage
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Prepping Our Kids for Babysitting with CPR Training

Prepping Our Kids for Babysitting with CPR Training

Our girls are of the age where they can offer babysitting services to our friends and neighbors with little kids, but we’re not about to send them out there without the proper training. In order for us (and other parents) to feel confident in their abilities to act in an emergency, we all signed up for a class prepping our kids for babysitting with CPR training.

After years of spending tons of money buying our kids stuff they needed and didn’t need, it’s time they start earning their own. And babysitting seems like the naturally best option, since they are both great with little kids and enjoy playing with them. So we signed up for CPR training at the local YMCA, and set off for an evening of fun.

Well, I guess that depends on your definition of fun. Thank goodness for Marla, our friendly trainer with the thick Bahston accent – she made a very serious subject interesting, and yes even fun. Thankful for Marla’s good sense of humor, we all four learned a lot and left the session certified to administer CPR if ever needed. (I think the kids would prefer never needing to do it, since the whole mouth-to-mouth part made them squirm a bit.

Sophia looks excited to practice mouth-to-mouth on her dummy "Darryl" Sophia looks excited to practice mouth-to-mouth on her dummy “Darryl”

Here’s the basics of what we learned:


  • First check to see if the person is responsive at all. Marla suggested tapping firmly on the shoulder and a loud “HEY! Are you okay?”
  • Take charge of the scene – send one person to call 911 and another to get an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). If you are alone, put your phone on speaker and dial 911 so you can have your hands free to begin CPR.


  • If there is an AED, use it! Marla demonstrated on a dummy, making sure to warn us to clear everyone from touching the person before delivering the shock. After all, we don’t want more than one victim to treat.
  • The AED is pretty smart – it speaks loudly and tells you exactly what to do.


  • This stands for the order of treatment in CPR: compressions, airway and then breathing
  • Marla had us chant this over and over until it stuck. Kinda like a Rhianna song.


  • Put the palm of your hand in the center of the person’s chest between the nipples (this made the girls giggle) and then place the other hand on top of the first. Sit up on your knees over the person’s body, extend your arms fully and lock your elbows.
  • Push straight down hard – about two inches of compression into their chest.
  • Do this thirty times fast – 120 beats per minute (basically the speed of a fast dance track).


  • After the 30 reps, gently tilt their head back and lift their chin to see if they are breathing.
  • Check their mouth to see if you can see any choking obstruction, and clear it with your finger if you can.
  • If there is no breathing, no chest motion, and you cannot hear air movement if you put your ear to their mouth, then move to the next stage.


  • Pinch the nose shut, cover their mouth with your mouth, and give them two quick breaths – one right after the other.
  • Look for chest motion to see if the breath got in.
  • If they do not resume to breathing on their own, start the compressions again for another 30 reps.


  • Repeat this process until you tire – usually about 3-4 minutes.
  • Marla warned the entire process is exhausting, and if there is someone else nearby, they should be ready to take over for you as you tire
  • Take turns until the paramedics arrive.

Marla also covered how to give CPR to kids (same instructions as above) and for babies: use two fingers into their chest instead of your whole hand, and be more gentle to ensure you don’t shake the baby’s little noggin.

While we took turns practicing on the dummies under Marla’s direction, Sophia and Ava went from giggling and embarrassed teens to fairly serious administration of CPR. By the end of the session, they had it down.

Sophia learns compression on her dummy "Darryl" Sophia learns compression on her dummy “Darryl”

Now that’s not to say one of us (ok maybe me) wouldn’t panic in an emergency and forget everything we just learned, but then again maybe our training would kick in and the adrenaline would power us through. Marla would be so proud!

Next up for training: First Aid. Knowing what happens to me when I see blood – or really even the subject is discussed – the girls will be practicing their CPR skills on Dad sooner than anyone thought…

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Hairspray Adventures: Competitive Cheerleading Meet – How Gay!

Hairspray Adventures: Competitive Cheerleading Meet – How Gay!

Through the haze of Aqua Net, we braved five hours of girls screaming and jumping up and down to attend Ava’s first competitive cheerleading meet with her team from Cali Coast Elite this weekend. It was an experience beyond anything we could have imagined, like maybe we had died and gone to Gay Parent Heaven.

So proud of Ava and her team - they worked hard for this win.

So proud of Ava and her team – they worked hard for this win.

We knew these girls were peppy. We knew they had high spirits. We even knew they would jump up and down, and scream and yell at the top of their lungs. But nothing – NOTHING – prepared us for the hair. Tracy Turnblad would have been proud of these Hair Hoppers. (Insert highly gay references to other cult movies __here___).

I mean, the girls were hardcore and so were some of the MOMS. Man, those women were living f-a-n-c-y – if they could have bedazzled one more inch of their workout sweats and pants, or had on just a little more bling, they would have qualified as bona fide drag queens. (I actually think one of them WAS a drag queen).

So of course, they see two dads with a daughter in the competition and draw immediate conclusions. Now Triton is pretty darn good at the hairdo stuff – and I did have to help Ava with her eyeliner so she could get the right line with a flourish – but that hardly qualifies as a gay stage dad. Right? Right??!?!?!

Hard to believe that hair could withstand all those cheerleading stunts, but it did!

Hard to believe that hair could withstand all those cheerleading stunts, but it did!

You see, for these competitions the teams gather from all over the Southwestern US to show off their amazing routines, vying for top honors and a first-place gold to bring back home. And they really bring the whole showbiz shebang along, complete with stage makeup of extraordinary color combinations, and gigantic, enormous, over-the-top hairdos that are teased to a frenzy that rivals any beehive of the ‘60s. My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw some of these girls.

The girls from Ava’s gym at Cali Coast are really sweet girls, and they are fantastic at what they do. Honestly, those coaches should be commended for teaching these girls such amazing teamwork and tricks. They are also not the over-the-top kind of girls, which is why we were so shocked to see some of these other teams. They were teasing and spraying each others ‘dos in the lobby, in the bathrooms, in the audience, in the backstage area, you name it.

The clouds of hairspray were choking the air, and it was inescapable!

The clouds of hairspray were choking the air, and it was inescapable!

**cough cough ** The air was oppressively lacking in any oxygen content, and I could see a hole forming in the ozone layer before my very eyes.

Lot of good all that hair did those girls though, since Ava’s team WON. Flat hair or not, we’ve got a CHAMPION in the house! When they announced her team as champions, Triton and I may or may not have squealed along with the rest of the cheer moms. Maybe.


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Nine Screaming Girls – A Sleepover Story

Nine Screaming Girls – A Sleepover Story

Last weekend, Ava turned Lucky 13 and wanted to have a big “welcome to your teens” sleepover. In a moment of sheer stupidity, we agreed to invite eight of her girlfriends over to our house for a frenzy of food, fun and games – and maybe a little sleep.

It was hideous.

Individually, these girls are lovely. We know each of them, and even in twos or threes, they are polite, manageable kids – some of which we’ve known since the girls were four years old. But wow, put them in a group and add a little sugar? We could power the next spaceship to the moon on that giddy, girlie hyperactivity.

I think our first mistake was timing. We started the party at 4 pm, and pick up time was not scheduled until 1 pm the following day. What were we thinking?!?!? Ava gets a lot of credit, though, because she organized a vintage movieland party theme, and a bunch of elaborate games to keep the guests entertained. We even had an old-fashioned popcorn machine on wheels like they have at the Fair.

Ava was pretty ingenious really. One of her games was called “Ugly to Pretty,” and she collected a bunch of cast-off items from the thrift store and arranged them on a table. There was an old alarm clock, a candlestick, an antique cut-glass drinking goblet, one of those frightening porcelain dolls like from an old horror flick, and some other stuff. The girls were challenged to use their phones to take an artsy picture of one of the items, making it look pretty by using lighting or filters. The results were fairly impressive – these kids know how to use their phones for sure.

That doll from the Ugly to Pretty game still haunts me from the shadows. That doll from the Ugly to Pretty game still haunts me from the shadows.

So, that whole episode took a whopping 20 minutes of party time. Only 16 hours to go. Thank god for that popcorn machine. And pizza delivery. Twice.

A sampling of actual things I said over the course of the evening:

  • “Please don’t scream help into the canyon at 11 pm at night – the neighbors are trying to sleep.”
  • “Hey, can you not keep throwing rocks into the fish pond?”
  • “No, I’m sorry we are fresh out of strawberry/pineapple juice and I cannot run to the store and get some right now.”
  • “Yes, yes they really are trying to sleep. I know the neighbors would prefer you not screaming.”
  • And my personal favorite, “Who’s bra is this hanging from the popcorn machine?”

It was a loooooooong night.

Not looking worse for the wear, these teens are actually sugar fiends. Not looking worse for the wear, these teens are actually sugar fiends.

In the morning, it’s not like they slept in either. Crack of dawn, and I heard the clomp clomp clomp of heavy feet on the hardwood floors. Creeping downstairs for my coffee, I saw them bunched together in groups, whispering.

Turns out they were wondering what was for breakfast. Man, those teens can EAT.

It’s all good though. Ava had a blast celebrating her entry into the teenage years, and it didn’t take me too long to pick that pepperoni pizza out of the family room carpet. The dogs helped.


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Watching the Debate With Our Kids

Watching the Debate With Our Kids

We watched the recent Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with our kids, and it was fascinating like a train wreck: you just couldn’t look away. So we did something we NEVER – we ate dinner while watching TV. Triton and I felt it was so important for us all to witness this bit of history, we broke our own house rules.

In the aftermath, the media rhetoric flows and each side takes credit for zingers, insults and points well made, while the rest of us are left shaking our heads for a variety of reasons. Believe me, our kids did not miss a trick, and pretty much thought the whole thing was a giant cluster *#@+.

They comprehend a lot more than we give them credit for sometimes, our kids, and their comments during the Debate were classic:

“Why is he so orange?”

“He keeps interrupting her. How rude!”

“He just keeps talking and talking and talking…”

“Shut up and answer the question!” (ok that might have been me)

Mostly, as young women with a Mexican lineage, they are extremely offended by Donald Trump’s racism and remarks about Mexican-Americans and that ridiculous idea about building a wall. Both Ava and Sophia have interpreted that to mean that people they care deeply about – and even themselves – are threatened with eventual deportation. They are worried and scared about what would happen in a Trump presidency.

And you know what girls, so am I. So am I.



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Qué Coqueta! (or: Your Daughter is a Tramp)

Qué Coqueta! (or: Your Daughter is a Tramp)

(Reblogged from 2008) Qué Coqueta! That’s Spanish for “Your daughter is a tramp”. Okay, maybe the literal translation is more like “What a flirt!” but you have have seen the look on our Mexican nanny’s face when she said it. It had ho-bag written all over it.

You see, Ava likes her dress-up. A lot. And she has the special pair of shoes that are a particular favorite. They are clear plastic glass slippers with a 3-inch kitten heel, a la Cinderella with an attitude. I have no idea where they came from. They probably arrived at our house as a birthday present innocently enough, in a Little-Miss-Dress-Up Play Set from Ronco or something like that.

Princess Ava

But oh, how Ava LOVES these shoes. She calls them her HighHeelGlassSlippers (all one word). The minute she gets home from school, off come the cute pink sandals or the polka dot Chucks, and on go the Little Miss CFM pumps. I swear, she would wear those damn things to bed if we let her.

So when I got home from work last night and walked in the door to greet my family, I hear the click-clack clickety-clack of Ava running towards me on the hard wood floors, and I know. I know the HighHeelGlassSlippers are making their evening appearance. Sure enough, she rounds the corner in full princess drag.

That’s when our nanny dropped the bomb. “Qué coqueta!” she said. “Ella tendrá muchos novios.” She will have many boyfriends.

Nice. Just what a dad wants to hear.

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Tale of Two Teens: A Suitcase Study

Tale of Two Teens: A Suitcase Study

I’m convinced that the shape of the travel stuff inside their suitcase tells much about a teen’s personality. For example, I give you Sophia’s area after 2 days in a hotel room at the Hilton Boston Downtown:

Sophia suitcase

And Ava-The-Collector’s area of the same hotel room:

Ava's suitcase

No judgement – both are fine for getting our stuff from here to there. Which kind are you?

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Sophia Loves Jack – Part Two

Sophia Loves Jack – Part Two

Earlier this year, Sophia had a “moment” with her teen boy band idol, Jack Johnson of Jack and Jack. (To hear more about that, read the earlier post here). So when Jack and Jack announced they were returning to San Diego as part of local radio station 93.3’s Summer Kickoff Concert, the begging began.

As parents, we’ve learned to use these moments, dangling them like carrots above our teen girls’ heads in order to extract good behavior and extra chores from them. Believe me, these opportunities come few and far between – so don’t judge!

Hanging with the teen idols at the 93.3 Summer Kickoff Concert

Hanging with the teen idols at the 93.3 Summer Kickoff Concert

We did finally agree to go as guests of I Heart Radio and settled into our pretty decent seats. Ever the schemer, Sophia had made pre-arrangements to sit with a friend whose seats were even closer to the stage. Since that girl’s mom was along, we knew it was okay to let Sophia sit up in front – in fact, we could easily see her from our seats 20 rows back.

While Ava, Triton and I bopped to the music, Sophia and her friend stealthed out of the venue under our noses. We figured they had to visit the bathroom.

But no. Come to find out, they had gone looking for Jack and tried to sneak backstage before being stopped by security. Ever resourceful, they stood just outside the backstage gate to peer inside like the stalker teens they are. And sure enough, Jack walked by so the called out to get his attention. “I remember you!” he said to Sophia. “You’re the one with the wifi sign! Come on in!”

And just like that, those girls were backstage groupies. They took photos with both Jacks, hung out and chatted with them and the crew, met a few other performers, and expressed their giggly thanks before returning to their seats.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been backstage at a concert or three. I know what goes on back there, and it’s not meant for teen girls. Luckily, this was a family-friendly event with a high degree of oversight, but still. I was more than a little freaked out. (And maybe a tiny bit proud of my little hustler for being so resourceful).

We are so screwed.

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Sophia Loves Jack – Concert Meet and Greet

Sophia Loves Jack – Concert Meet and Greet

Ever heard of the boy band called Jack and Jack? Yeah, me neither. But Sophia and her friends certainly have, and as the parents of a teen girl we’re getting an education on crushes.

Sophia insists she will one day marry Jack Johnson, to the point where she sometimes refers to herself as Sophia Johnson. He’s almost 20, and she is 14 – so this would be happening over my dead body. Nonetheless, this is a real thing we are currently living. She even has an Instagram fan account dedicated to him: day.dream.johnson96.

Recently she announced they were coming to San Diego, and Sophia informed Triton and me that she was desperate to see them. For a surprise, we bought her tickets to their show at the House of Blues, and meet-and-greet passes so she and a friend could actually meet them. The screams could be heard at the North Pole.

Behind the scenes at the Jack and Jack concert

Sophia met her heartthrob Jack Johnson of Jack and Jack boy band fame

Since this was her first big concert experience, I wanted to go and chaperone – and I’m glad I did!

Sophia wanted to make a memorable impression on Jack, so she devised a plan. She created a sign to bring with her to the concert, decorated in hot pink with giant letters stating “JACK J, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WIFI.” (Now any of you with teens will immediately know that this is a HUGE statement – teens wither into mere shadows without their wifi connection.) She worked hard to plan a way to get noticed, and I have to say I was more than a little proud of her ingenuity.

And if she wanted to make an impression, she certainly succeeded. Not only did Jack love the sign, but he and Jack G posed for multiple photos with Sophia when all the other kids only got one. He even posted the photo of her with him and the sign to his Instagram account, which to Sophia was akin to dying and going to heaven. Insta-celebrity by association! Game over.

She floated on air for a full month.