Baby Food For Thought

Baby Food For Thought

My favorite part of the day has always been early morning. I like to get up before my wife, before noisy traffic, often before the sun has risen. The world is still a peaceful place and I can ease into life, like gently lowering myself into a warm bath infused with some sort of ridiculous overpriced chick-nonsense scented bath ball.

And then a baby fart rudely awakens me from my beautiful daydream.

Theses days I’m getting up even earlier than before. But it’s not to enjoy a few moments of quiet introspection, or a leisurely stretching session, or to watch mankind destroying itself, aka the news. It’s because I have an 8 month old baby boy who owns my mornings, along with any other previously labeled “me time”.

Ironically, I love these morning more than any mornings that came before them. Before Frankie Four was born the morning would (he said “morning wood”) be dedicated to avoiding all other human contact. Now the start of my day is dedicated solely to interacting with my son.

I usually wake up before Lisa and Four, so I hustle to shower and complete a few chores like take out the trash, wash the dishes, or poop. In the midst of these tasks, usually the pooping, I inevitably hear a call of, “Daaaaddy”, which is Lisa’s cute way of saying, “This kid chomped on my boobs half the night while you slept like you’re on vacation, so batter up motherfucker.” I drop whatever I’m doing and rush in to find my boy smiling up at me. He’s a happy kid in general, almost always smiling or laughing. But he’s got this big sleepy grin when he first wakes up that reminds me of what a great life I have.

I scoop him up and he presses his face against mine, his little warm cheek soft against my cheek, his arm around my neck, and nothing else in the world exists. It’s just me and my son and a love so strong that I don’t think my heart can contain it. There are mornings when holding him almost brings me to tears because I’d never imagined that being a dad would feel this good.

Now that I’m done weeping on my Macbook Pro like a little bitch, let’s get to the fun part—breakfast! This truly is the best part of my day. Every morning I put Four in his high chair and I make us breakfast. My oatmeal, his rice cereal mixed with carrots. My coffee, his steamed sweet potato. My scrambled egg whites, his scrambled egg whites. Actually, they’re the same egg whites. I don’t make them in separate batches. That would be stupid and inefficient.

Bad Ass DadI prepare eggs delicately, hence the extended pinky.

Bad Ass Dad CookingPlating and presentation of an ample bicep is key to being a good chef.

Bad Ass Dad feeding babyFour glares at me waits patiently between bites.

Bad Ass Dad feeding babyMy cereal looks good dad, but mommy taught me to try to eat your food instead of my own.

Bad Ass Dad feeding babyI’m not kidding old man. Gimme the goddamn oatmeal.

Bad Ass Dad feeding babyI’m done now. Be gone.

Before I say anything else, let me just point out how much I love my son. I allowed Lisa to take these photos prior to applying any hair product to my always perfect coif. In essence, I’ve bared my soul for you, for him, and for all mankind. You’re welcome. (Also, side note, I don’t have a soul because that’s not a real thing.)

This is a pretty typical morning for us. We also spend some time playing, maybe read a book, and practicing our conversation. I’m in an office Monday through Friday, have a few personal projects I work on, and go to the gym 4-5 days per week. Other than that, my family gets 100% of my time and attention. In a perfect world I’d spend all of my time with them, but then we’d be living in a dumpster behind an Arby’s and worse, be eating Arby’s. So, I maximize my time to the best of my ability in order to take an active role in raising my son. Lisa busts her ass on a daily basis taking care of Four (and me), and she deserves some time for herself. But more than that, I want to be a good dad more than I’ve ever wanted to be anything in my life. Each and every day I wake up grateful for the opportunity to be a father, and I want my son to know how much that means to me. If I can communicate that with morning snuggles, a diaper change, and some scrambled eggs, I think I’ve done my job.

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If you enjoy the blog then follow me on Instagram (@frankprather) for pics of our daily adventures.

First Fourth Of July Baby

First Fourth Of July Baby

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. First off, it’s during summer, the only season that should legally be allowed to exist. Spring sucks because it’s rainy, making it impossible to keep my car looking pristine. Yes, I live in California where there’s allegedly a water shortage and people claim we “need” rain. However, I live 1.35 miles from the Pacific Ocean which I can assure you is made almost entirely of water, and lots of it. Fall is just depressing. And winter is well, fuck winter. It occasionally drops below 60 degrees here during winter which means I have to wear a jacket over my extra-medium shirts, covering up my huge arms and ample pecs.

Anyway, this 4th was particularly special because it was filled with firsts. It was our first as a family, my first as a married man, and my first as a dad. More importantly, there were a few big firsts for my son, Frankie Four.

American BabyHe gave his first speech in preparation for when he’s President of The United States Of America.

Baby in treeHe climbed his first tree
BECAUSE THAT IS A PERFECTLY SAFE
THING TO DO WITH A GODDAMN BABY.

baby on sideHe’s been capable of sleeping on his side for a while and also able to roll from his tummy to his back. This weekend he figured out how to roll from his back to his tummy with ease so he flips himself back and forth constantly.

baby eats feet

baby at the beachAlthough the big eating news is in the video below, I should also mention
that he’s eaten a significant amount of sand which is clearly his
favorite beach activity aside of showing off his physique.

Family at beach

baby watching fireworks

We took him to watch fireworks on the beach which fascinated him. At 10pm he was still wide-eyed and fixated on the explosion of lights in the sky. And, unlike some babies that act like little wussy babies, he loved the loud explosions because my 18 week old son is a real man.

Manhattan Beach concert in parkHe also went to his first concert in the park
with some of his favorite people.

Even with all that excitement, there were still two truly big firsts that occurred in the same day.

Four, on the 4th of July, declared his (extremely limited) independence from the boob as he devoured his first solid food.

And the second big first, my personal favorite, is Frankie Four showing off his massive leg strength and standing up with no more than a little help balancing.

My son will probably never know the significance of his first Independence Day but, for me, it might as well have been my first 4th of July celebration. Because every one of his new experiences, and every new step in his growth, and every new little thing he does, causes my heart to explode like the grand finale in the worlds biggest fireworks display.

Cloning Myself Part 1

Cloning Myself Part 1

We all agree that I am an exceptionally great person who cares about everyone else in the world and just wants them to be happy. As such, it’s my duty to share with them the most magnificent gift that mankind could ever hope to receive, more of me. And, while I’ve been voted “Most Likely To Be Immortal” by my peers (I have no peers), there’s still a reasonable chance that I will one day expire. Hence, I have created life in the form of my son, Franklin Nathaniel Prather IV (aka Four) and will raise him to be exactly like me, perfect.

Below are 10 things that I’m teaching Four so he can be a superior being, just like his humble father.

1) Most people are irritating so it’s best to simply avoid them. However, you can to share yourself with them via social media so that they may bask in the digital glow of your visage. By the time you’re ready to do that without my assistance, I predict that the most popular site will be Instahologram.com (Instaholagram.com in Spanish) where others can feel ignored by a life sized you, as if you were in the same room.

2) All religion is nonsense, “god” is pretend, and “spirituality” is for hippies, chicks, and motivational speakers. You should be logical, like Spock, only with a scathing wit and winning smile.

3) Exercising and eating right will result in good health, a better physique, hotter significant others, and the right to lord your superiority over everyone to an even greater degree than just being smarter than they are. Nice pecs = lots of se…you get the idea.

4) Be smarter than everyone. This might be the easiest thing on the list.

5) You can listen to and enjoy all types of music as long as you agree that Prince is the greatest musical artist that has ever lived.

6) I don’t care if you’re straight or gay, just never wear white sneakers with jeans or use emoticons.

7) Make fun of everyone equally but lay off those weaker than you. Mockery makes life worth living but bullying is for pussies.

8) Violence is never the answer unless you’re beating the shit out of a bully.

9) Being attractive is a result of good genetics which were bestowed upon you by your father. You’re welcome.

10) There is no one greater than your father in any way. No one.

This is just the beginning of what I’m going to teach you. Eventually you will be filled with so much knowledge that, along with your impressive physique and extreme good looks, you’ll be pretty much the best person ever, just like me.

We are already alike in so many ways…

Spartan4

Frank Prather

My First Post As A First Time Dad – The Birth

My First Post As A First Time Dad – The Birth

When I launched this blog back in September of 2014 I obviously knew that I was going to have a kid, because otherwise a dad blog would be an extremely stupid idea. But that didn’t really mean anything to me, in the sense of what it’s like to actually have a child in my possession. I thought it did but, until that little goopy Golem came gurgle splurgling out of my wife’s nether regions, it was all speculation. Then, on 2/25/15, which is a cool ass birthday, numerically speaking, my offspring sprung himself out of the womb and into my arms. Boom, in an instant I become the greatest dad that ever lived. Go me!

That was also around the time I fell in love with an 8lb. ball of slime-covered pink-ish flesh named Franklin Nathaniel Prather IV, aka Four, aka my son.

The birth went down in the typical fashion. Lisa, my wife, informed me that her water broke on a Monday afternoon. She called the groinocologist who told her to head to the hospital. As any responsible adult would, she decided that we’d go the following day, depending on whether or not we’d have time to watch The Blacklist first. Tuesday morning came and she still felt fine so I went to work while she stayed home and made meatballs.

pregant wife bad ass dadMeatballer, Shot Caller, Bra-ler.

While the meatballs were simmering she called the hospital and they let her know that she should come in right away. So, when I arrived home from work, she suggested that I had time to go to Crossfit before dinner because “right away” is such a vague term. It occurred to me that I might be making a poor decision by going to Crossfit, mostly because my back was a little sore. Oh, and because my wife was having a baby. But honestly, my physique has been looking so good lately that I have to keep my priorities straight, so off to the gym I went. When I returned Lisa had dinner all ready for me, as any good wife in labor should, so we ate some delicious meatballs with her mom then lazily packed up and headed to the hospital.

bad ass dad maternity ward“Patients ONLY”? Then I’m preggers, bitches. Open up.

Given Lisa’s casual demeanor over the previous twenty-four hours, I wasn’t completely convinced that she was in labor. However, when the nurse performed the examination she confirmed that the water had, in fact, broken. We were here to stay.

Because she read too many hippy birth articles written by women who probably don’t shave their armpits, my fit, tough, Spartan Racer wife had been determined to go through the labor process naturally, sans drugs, in order to fully experience the miracle of childbirth. Unfortunately, they needed to induce labor because, although her water had broken, she wasn’t having any contractions. Once the water breaks, both mom and baby are at high risk for infection so the labor process needs to get kick started. We asked every question you could think of and waited as long as we could, but ultimately the risk of our baby catching an infection outweighed her desire to avoid medical intervention. They started the induction drip and we settled in for the HOLY SHIT WHY IS SHE SCREAMING?

pregnant lady

Apparently the contractions are pretty horrific when they induce labor and get progressively worse as they increase the amount of the drug. Lisa went from, “Ouch these are uncomfortable” to, “Oh god, these are unbearable” in about 4 hours”. Now, lest you think my claims of her being “tough” are exaggerated, I’ve seen her complete a 13-mile Spartan Beast on what was essentially a broken foot. Lisa doesn’t just give in to pain. She’s been with me for over five years which I think speaks to her pain tolerance. So, when she looked at me at 3am and said, “Would you be disappointed in me if I asked for an epidural?” I thought what every loving, compassionate husband would think—I may finally get to go to sleep. Epidurals for everybody. First round is on me! Less than an hour later we were both out cold.

Suck it, natural childbirth.

Our doctor arrived the next morning and informed us that we were approximately two hours away from having a baby.

pregnantI’d like to order two large pizzas, a side of fries, and an epidural.

At that moment, for the first time, I actually started to get a bit nervous. It seemed like I was going to have a kid before lunch and I eat on a really strict schedule. What if I didn’t get to eat on time? Would the lack of protein cause my biceps to shrink 1/4356 of an inch? Could low blood sugar cause me to feel mildly irritable? What if my tummy grumbled uncomfortably? This baby is a couple of hours away from existing and is already a pain in my ass. My hangry musings were interrupted by the nurse coming in to get Lisa started on her pushing. Pushing real good.

I’d love to have some dramatic story about how it took her 6,000 hours of labor to squeeze the baby out but it went both quickly and smoothly-ish. Lisa’s pushing was pretty effective which I attribute to the fact that I force her to she works out consistently. I stood to one side holding her leg in an awkward position while offering words of encouragement like, “You get to have my baby!”, “Look how great I am at holding your leg!”, and “I don’t think you’re going to infringe on my lunch hour, good deal!”. Suffice to say that she is a very lucky girl and I am the epitome of a birthing coach.

dad bedside deliveryYou’re doing great, me. Stay strong! And that shirt looks really good on you.

When not single-handedly making the labor go well with my leg holding and word saying, I was watching her lady love-tunnel for the appearance of a baby head. A lot of things came out while I was waiting, none of which were a newborn baby. At one point the doctor said he would use a vacuum to suck the baby out which sounded awesome until I realized it wasn’t a Roomba or even a DustBuster. They have some sort of special skull sucking machine that clamps down on the babies head turning it into a living Stretch Armstrong doll. Finally, the giant gooey head of my heir parted her um, parts, and started smushing out. I was transfixed as the horror unfolded most joyous of events took place before my very eyes.

In every language the term, “miracle of childbirth” translates literally to, “That’s fucking gross.” After the misshapen head rips through an opening that’s ten sizes too small, the entire body basically slurps out like a rubber chicken covered in glop. When it was completely out I panicked for a second thinking that they might try to hand it to me and no way I was touching that thing.

babys first picI must have some gorilla DNA because look at his face.
He’ll be swatting planes off the Empire State Bldg in no time.

Fortunately they dropped the creature on to Lisa’s ample bosom for some skin-to-skin before they shuttled it over to a table for a quick weigh in and wipe down.

weighing a newbornApparently they try to see if the babies head will pop off to make sure he’s healthy.

Moments later the grossest ball of snot that I’d ever witnessed in person looked like a tiny baby boy/MMA fighter after a brutal beating. The nurse handed him to me so that I could have a brief moment before returning him to Lisa.

I held him the way one might hold the most fragile glass, or something made of egg shells. He felt almost weightless in my arms. I stared, hypnotized by his little face.  In that instant, everything, every person, and every moment I’d ever experienced, ceased to exist. There was only this tiny newborn baby who was more meaningful to me than all that had come before him and all that would come after him. At a healthy eight pounds even, this boy entered the ring of life as the undisputed heavyweight champion of my heart.

family

A few seconds later I handed him off to his mommy and he was instantly asleep, lulled by the sound of her heart. I stood next to the bed, beaming proudly at my family, and was hit with the most powerful realization of my life.

I am a dad.

Bad Ass Dad

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FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/abadassdad
INSTAGRAM: @frankprather
TWITTER: @badassfrank

20 – 21 Weeks Pregnant – Gender Reveal

20 – 21 Weeks Pregnant – Gender Reveal

So, if you buy a girl something or tell her a bunch of lies to get her to like you then she might let you put what you have inside what she has for like 2 minutes and then you have to pay child support. The alternative is to marry the girl and instead of alimony and child support they call it “raising a family”, the only difference being that you can’t date and the girl is mad at you most of the time.

And that kids, is how babies are made.

boyorgirl

With the miracle of childbirth still being months away, there’s only so many baby oriented happenings to write about. Hence, I sometimes have to keep some of the major milestones close to the vest in order to release them over time. The initial birth announcement is obviously the first, and most major news to break, so after that it’s an effort to find things that are a “big deal”. Because it’s me, and everything I do is in incredibly interesting, that’s not as difficult as it is for most, but even I struggle from time to time. In this particular instance, however, it’s pretty easy because finding out if someone is having a girl or a boy is epic news. People have been asking me for weeks and I’ve been telling almost everyone that we don’t know yet, which was a complete and utter lie. We’ve known for well over a month but decided to hold off until after our wedding. Not because we didn’t want the news to overshadow our nuptials, but because we’d scheduled a gender reveal photo shoot for the day after our wedding. I mean, we’re a gorgeous couple so why would we torture you by not letting you look at us when we reveal the dominant chromosome in our child?

Please note that I do not speak for my wife when I speak of our collective beauty because she is, how you say, humble. I, on the other hand, am, how you say, awesome. 

Anyway, Lisa and I had decided that we’d hold off until after the wedding (and corresponding photo shoot) to reveal the gender to the general public. Just prior to that, our family and closest friends would get the news at the rehearsal dinner. I’ll go into detail about that next week in my wedding recap post but know that the announcement got both cheers and tears because I know how to work a motherfucking crowd.

There have been a lot of predictions as to the gender, although it seems that most lean heavily toward it being a girl. Part of that I believe is simple psychology. Babies are small, fragile, beautiful, mostly hairless, and cry a shit ton, so ascribing the feminine gender to them seems natural. The other aspect of the heavily female leaning guesses were people hoping that fate would spite me. I’m not sure why, although it appears that some people have the misconception that I have a “past” with women that warrants me being tortured by having a daughter that will grow up to date guys “like me”. What those people fail to realize is that there are no guys like me because I am perfect. More importantly, the one thing they don’t know about me is that

Bad Ass Dad Gender Reveal

WE’RE HAVING A BOY!

So, to all of you who “wished” a girl on me as if “god” or karma was going to spite me, suck it.

I win.

Truth be told, I’d have been happy with a boy or girl because I’m looking forward to being a good dad regardless of gender. It didn’t matter to me if I was going to paint the nursery pink or blue, play with G.I. Joe’s or baby dolls, drive them to MMA classes or female MMA classes, I’m all in. Granted, there are a great many reasons I’m thrilled that it’s a boy that I’ll write about in a future post but for now suffice to say I can’t wait to be a dad and I’m counting the minutes until I meet my little boy.

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A special thanks to our good friend Leyna Ambron of Yellow Heart Photography for another amazing photo shoot.
She captures amazing images of all types but specializes in family, maternity, baby and other shoots that revolve around love.
Check out her work at the links below:
YellowHeartPhotography.com
YHP on Facebook
YHP on Instagram

19 Weeks Pregnant – Ya Feel Me

19 Weeks Pregnant – Ya Feel Me

The moment your wife/fiancé/girlfriend/neighbor/pizza delivery girl tells you that she’s pregnant with your baby gives you that intense “Shit just got real” feeling. Later, when you see the first ultrasound of the alien-like creature that will become your child, you realize that shit wasn’t really real before but, now that you can see a picture of it, shit just got real. A few months after that, when your female baby host walks out of the bathroom looking like she just swallowed a watermelon whole, it’s like the realness you felt before was so not real and suddenly shit is the realest that real has ever been.

But all of that realness wasn’t really real. Shit didn’t get real. You might think it got real, but it didn’t. Because no matter what she said, or what you saw on an ultrasound, or how monstrous her belly appears, it’s all conceptual. Then one night you’re laying in bed, resting your hand on what you thought was a one of those giant exercise balls, and you feel a tap against your palm.

Bad Ass Dad Belly

“Did you feel that?” she asks excitedly.

“Feel what?” you reply dumb-assedly.

“The baby kicked,” she says, leaving out the “you idiot” part.

You’re too stunned to believe that the tap was what she claims it was until it happens a second time. Then a third. Now your jaw is on the floor and your eyes are wide as saucers because your unborn child has just reached out and touched your hand for the first time.

And that, my friends, is when shit gets real.

Bad Ass Dad Ultrasound

Lisa started trying to tell me that she could feel the baby kicking about 6 months before she got pregnant. Every twitch or gas bubble or eyelash that floated down and landed on her stomach was, “I CAN FEEL THE BABY MOVING!” Like a dutiful significant other should, I mostly ignored her. But eventually I succumbed to her insanity and started placing my hand upon her ample stomach, pretending to concentrate really hard on feeling for movement while I watched Blacklist out of the corner of my eye. Every so often she’d look at me questioningly, as if she just felt something and wanted to know if I did as well. I learned to feign a disappointed look and shake my head sadly. Truth be told, I didn’t expect to feel anything for a few more weeks and her claims that she could seemed a little “girl who cried wolf” to me. So the night that it actually happened I hit more of a state of shock than I did when she told me that she was pregnant.

The first little poke was gentle. So much so that I thought I might have imagined it. Then a second one came and I knew something was going on but I’m not sure that I was completely convinced. The third one was so strong that it felt like someone flicked me in the middle of my hand and I couldn’t think straight. I started grinning so hard I felt like my face would burst while I simultaneously struggled to fight back tears. Lisa was laughing at me and at how powerful the kick/punch/headbutts were from inside of her, although I think part of her joy stemmed from proving that she wasn’t delusional. I was simply astounded.

My child, the actual living being growing inside my fiancé, had made physical contact with me and proven that he/she was real. I can say unequivocally that I was, in that moment, the most amazed that I have ever been in my entire life, and I was reasonably certain that my heart was going to explode. I was so filled with love for both Lisa and our baby that it consumed me in a way I never thought possible. It gave me an entirely new meaning to the word “life”.

The baby went crazy for a few minutes, punching, kicking, throwing elbows, trying for an armbar but ultimately finishing the umbilical cord with a rear naked choke. All while I sat there like a big fucking dummy all smiles and watery eyes and probably lactating nipples, lost in space.

Now her belly gets hand time every night. It also gets some ear time, in case the baby tries to tell me something (my kid is obviously a genius, like daddy, and can already speak). It gets face time, and kiss time, and plenty of conversation time, because that baby in there has something that no human has ever had before in the history of my life.

My undivided attention.

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And if you really love me, us, babies, and America, feel free to contribute a huge financial token of your appreciation to our honeymoon/babymoon fund: http://www.honeyfund.com/wedding/lisafrankwedding

Bad Ass Dad – Pregnancy Announcement

Bad Ass Dad – Pregnancy Announcement

Throughout my life I’ve wavered back and forth between the idea of having a kid(s) or simply continuing as the most important living being of all time and the center of the known universe. Today I would like to formally announce proof that I am, in fact, god, because I have created life.

BEHOLD, I AM WITH CHILD!

Sonogram2

Fine, Lisa is with child, but I put it in her. A uterus without a baby is just an empty room. Now that I’ve furnished it with my decor, it’s a living room. I’m like the host of Extreme Womb Makeover.

“We’ll make this giant head the focal point and these fingers will be a lovely conversation piece. How do you feel about an innie belly button?”

fingers

In December of 2013 I proposed to the love of my life, knowing that I was absolutely 100% ready to be married and have a kid (see The Proposal). I even pushed for an earlier wedding date so that we could start the procreation process. However, for once, Lisa didn’t take forever to get ready and we were off to the pregnancy a bit sooner than anticipated. She finally discovered a loophole in the “No Eating” policy I have for a future bride.

LisaScale2

We’d planned to initiate “Project Baby” about a month before our October nuptials because I was so anxious. So the idea of Lisa being pregnant was already a seedling planted in my mind, but the actual news was such a surprise that it didn’t even register. I came home from work on a Wednesday and she was already sitting on the sofa. As her commute is longer, she typically arrives home almost an hour later than I do, but she explained that she’d gone to do some family stuff so I didn’t question it. Hungry as hell, I was walking into the kitchen in search of dinner when she asked, “Will you check the bun I put in the oven?”, to which I responded something along the lines of “Sure, blah blah blah”. I opened the oven, spotted one individual bun in said oven, then began quietly seething because clearly she was making herself something for dinner and hadn’t made me anything. We bantered back and forth while I contained my inner rage at her complete lack of consideration for my hunger when she asked, “Do you want a bun in the oven?”. At this point she could have thrown a live baby at me and screamed, “This is yours dumbass” and it wouldn’t have mattered.

SHE DIDN’T MAKE ME ANY FOOD!

I declined her too-little-too-late offer of a bun in the oven and went to the fridge to hunt and gather my own dinner. Upon opening the refrigerator I spied what she’d prepared for me —a baby bottle and a card. Now, for those of you who know me this next statement will demonstrate the extreme level of my shock. I was speechless. Prior to this moment, virtually anyone would attest that the only thing likely to render me unable to gift others with the sound of my voice would be my own death. Apparently, my death is not the only event able to push my hard-to-find mute button. A new life can silence me as well.

The only words I could muster were, “Is this a real thing?” to which she responded an emphatic “Yes!”. I stood there as if Hiro Nakamura himself had squinted really hard and frozen me in time. That was nine and a half weeks ago and here I am, finally thawed out enough to speak again.

Today, I am forty-four years old, six months away from having my first child, and barely mature enough to be allowed out in public. My life, to this point, has been a wild ride, filled with all manner of adventure, some glorious, some ill advised, but I’ve loved every minute of it. Because every decision I’ve made, every path I’ve taken, and everything I’ve ever done has led me to this. I hope you will come along with me as I hop on my Harley and ride into fatherhood on my journey to becoming what I’ve always wanted to be….

A Bad Ass Dad.