Halloween And The Kiss Of Death

Halloween And The Kiss Of Death

Frankie Four just hit 20 months old so this was his first real Halloween. I tried to ease him into it by taking him shopping for decorations at the 99 Cent Store. He’s a smart kid so he immediately tried to cover his face lest someone see him shopping at the 99 Cent Store.

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The previous year we took him to a Halloween party where he went as a lump of fat that didn’t do anything useful or say any meaningful words (insert Trump joke here).

1LastYear

This year, however, he went as some sort of a smudge that once looked like a skeleton but ended up as kind of a panda. His mother, the world famous makeup artist known as www.makeupartist411.com, struggled valiantly to apply makeup to a two-foot tall tornado who promptly rubbed his face on the sofa, the floor, my pants, and a peanut butter sandwich.

0familyMother Smudger.

Eventually we made our way toward the neighbors house where he would have his first ever trick or treating experience and/or learn to case a house. With mommy and grandma in tow, we crossed the street and I set him down on the sidewalk so he could approach the house on his own two feet like a man.

I said, “Hold daddy’s hand,” and my favorite human being that’s ever lived looked up at me and put his tiny hand in mine. I can’t even try to come up with a funny or sarcastic comment about that. I almost lost it right there in front of my wife, mother-in-law, neighbors, and strangers on the street. There are moments like this one that force me to stop in my tracks because I feel dizzy. It’s like I can’t handle the amount of love that flows through my body. All of his little milestones are a big deal to me but some effect me more than others. Frankie carrying a jack-o-lantern bucket in one hand and grasping my fingers with the other just overwhelmed me.

3firsthouseThe pic is blurry but so were my eyes. Shut up.

After shaking off my almost emotional breakdown, we arrived at that first door which was definitely the most fun of the night. F4’s eyes were full of wonder at the decorations and lights, but when my neighbor held out a bowl of candy he looked frozen in time. He doesn’t know what “trick or treat” means. Hell, he can’t even say it. Plus, he’s had very little candy in his short life so, while he recognizes a small piece of chocolate, an entire bowl of diabetes delights is foreign to him. He just stood there while my neighbor grabbed a handful of goodies and dropped them in his bucket.

4bucket

I don’t think he completely grasped the glory of the situation he was in—free candy, by the bucket, and daddy was allowing it. Pretty sure he thought I was entrapping him rather than what I was actually doing which was using him as a front to get me free candy by the bucket. Much easier than my usual method of candy collecting by way of home invasion.

I did allow him a few pieces of candy which, as you can see below, caused me great personal joy.

5daddyand4Enjoy it kid. Tomorrow you’re back on protein shakes and broccoli.

With a few stops under his belt F4 finally started to pick up on the protocol. It took some prompting but most houses got a “Peas” in place of “Trick-or-treat” followed by the blowing of a kiss in place of a “Thank you”. At one point my wife told one of the ladies handing out candy that it was “the kiss of death” which caused a look of genuine horror. I don’t know if the woman was superstitious or dying of something but that was the last time that happened.

The grand finale of every stop was an unsolicited, top-of-his-lungs shouting of “BYEEEE!” which got a huge laugh and a return “Bye!” What no one anticipated was that for every “Bye!” they put in the pot, Frankie would raise them one exponentially louder “BYEEEE!” even if we were halfway down the block. Eventually they’d just give up because, like the Terminator, F4 would never stop. He always got the last word which he clearly learned by watching me is just because he’s friendly.

After what felt like 100 houses, but was probably more like 10, we were all exhausted. Some of us from trying to pull others to the ground.

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And others from having to be carried from house to house.

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Eventually those who had exerted themselves were just dead tired.

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So we decided to call it a night, head home, and hand out candy to kids that didn’t require me to wear a weightlifting belt to hold them.

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All in all our first big Halloween outing was a huge success. The entire family and, most importantly, Frankie Four, had a great time. We were all tuckered out but mommy and me managed to stay up long enough to eat enough candy to feed John Candy. Alas, the boy couldn’t quite hang.

10dunzoBest Halloween ever.


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Our First Family Holiday In Photos— And Breastfeeding!

Our First Family Holiday In Photos— And Breastfeeding!

This is a dual purpose photo post that will both recap Four’s first holiday with my family and throw public breastfeeding pics in the faces of people who were angry at my last post. Joy to the world!

Airport BoobWe started the holiday trip off right with our rendition of Little Town Of Breast-Ahem at the airport. I know they hold more than 3.5 ounces of liquid, so how did she sneak them past the crack TSA team at security?

MARYLAND

Bad Ass Dad and sonMe and Frankie Four landed in Maryland and were immediately accosted by some woman (who may or may not be his mother and my wife) because of our winning smiles. We can’t help it if we pretty.

Mixed race familyI am an equal opportunity uncle and demand racial diversity in my family. It was very difficult for me to accept that my son turned out to be Caucasian but I love him anyway. Appearing in this photo from upper left to right is my sister, my wife, my nephew, my mom holding my disturbingly cracker-ish son, and my niece.

Bad Ass Dad wifeMy gorgeous California wife dressed in a New York outfit in the Maryland woods. This was what she was wearing when she was last seen so if you—just kidding. The ground was way too hard to dig a hole that day.

Bad Ass DadKevin and I have been friends for 25 years. You think he’d have offered me some of his sperm so that my kid had a little melanin.

Bad Ass DadScott and I have been friends for over 30 years and it looks a lot like he donated his sperm given Four’s cheeks.

NORTH CAROLINA

Bad Ass Dad and sonsFranklin Nathaniel Prather’s 2, 3, and 4. One of them believes that he’s the master of the universe and so do the other two.

prather thanksgivingThis is a happy photo of Four’s first Thanksgiving and definitely not a family that’s being forced to pretend that everything is fine by armed home invaders. (Help us)

grandparentsPop, Four, and GeeBee, not to be confused with Bel Biv Devoe.

bad ass dad hairThe wind messed up my hair so I was forced to brutally murder the wind. Problem solved.

Bad Ass  Dad familyWould it be egotistical of me to caption this, “Best Looking Family That Ever Lived”?
Yes?
Ok, good.

Bad Ass Dad friendsWhen my friend Larry died he left behind a beautiful family who I finally got to introduce to Four. Seeing his kids playing with my son was one of the highlights of my year. His twins were asleep by the time we actually took a pic.

FLORIDA

Bad Ass DadOn the flight to Florida our son crawled into the arms of a strange Asian woman named Linn. That was literally the only thing she said that we could understand.

Bad Ass DadHere is Four in a rickshaw and not because the last picture was of him and an Asian woman. Don’t be such a racist. But I think we can all agree that one of them is probably a terrible driver.

Bad Ass DadFour with Nena, his great-grandmother and the reason we were in Florida.

Baby in a suitcaseI’m not saying you should pack your baby in a suitcase,
I’m just saying it might make the flight more peaceful.

Bad Ass Dad breastfeedingI promised breastfeeding pics so here’s one that, unfortunately, did not take place in public. But don’t worry, they’re coming!

Bad Ass DadThis is my nephew Chris showing off his first tattoo as well as a small white child.

Bad Ass DadWe spent a few days at the beach trying to catch our tans up with my niece Cassi. We failed.

Bad Ass DadI don’t know if you’ve ever checked the caloric content of sand but, given how much of it he’s eaten and how his body looks, I’d say it’s fattening.

Bad Ass DadSHART! Wait, I mean SHARK! No, it was a shart.

Bad Ass DadOnly one of the best days of my life, no big deal.

Bad Ass DadThe #1 beach in America according to someone who ranks beaches. In America. But after Siesta Key, you need a…

Bad Ass DadA siesta—while being watched by toy creepers.

Bad Ass Dad breastfeedingAfter the nap, a little X-mas shopping with St. Nipple-ous.

Bad Ass DadThe next day we took the family to a state park where not a single one of us got eaten by an alligator or encountered someone invoking the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. You’re slipping, Florida.

Bad Ass Dad breastfeedingWe also took a little boat ride in the 90 degree weather. I’m clearly upset with Lisa for not covering our son in something that would overheat him to death just so she could protect the other people on the boat from her semi-visible boob.
(I’m on a boob, bitch!)

Bad Ass DadFour is having the time of his life. Wheeeeeeeee!

Bad Ass DadFour’s enthusiasm for life was reinvigorated when we all went to Universal Studios!

Bad Ass DadMommy helps Four wake up. SURPRISE!

Bad Ass DadHe poses for the picture or he gets the hose again.

Bad Ass Dad breastfeedingMy wife breastfeeding my son, uncovered,
while walking with my mom at Universal Studios in Florida. Bad Ass women.

Bad Ass DadAnd the defining image from our trip. The family.
From L to R:
Frankie Four (my son)
Lisa (my wife)
Gloria (my mom)
Cassi (my niece)
Stephanie (my sister)
Chris (my nephew)
Gloria aka “Nena” (my grandmother)

…and the luckiest guy on earth, me.

Meet The Family

Meet The Family

In May of 2000 I moved from Maryland to California. One little fight and my mom got scared she said, “You’re moving with your Auntie and Uncle in Bel-Air”.

I wasn’t sure if it was a forever move, and many people said, “You’ll come back”, but it was, and I didn’t. It was hard leaving my loved ones behind but after developing a career in television, along with a love for drought, traffic, disingenuous people, huge financial drain, earthquakes sunshine, I accepted that I’d be staying long term and that engaging my family in person was going to be infrequent. Although I love them dearly, regular trips to the East Coast are costly, time consuming, and the humidity wreaks havoc on my hair. Then, my son was born and suddenly I realized that perfect hair isn’t everything (<—Who AM I?).

It took 5 months after his birth for the stars, and work, to align perfectly so that Lisa and I could introduce Frankie Four to my family in person. Prior to that, Lisa had volunteered to brave the trip on her own because my work schedule wasn’t adjusting in our favor. However, in a fortuitous turn of events, not only did my job afford me the opportunity to join her on part of the journey, it placed me in the very city where my bride and progeny would land. What it didn’t allow was for us to travel at the same time, so Lisa carted Four cross-country by herself. Mad props to my wife for being a Bad Ass in every sense of the term, but particularly so for her willingness to drag our heavy handful of a kid all over America by her lonesome. Not an easy task.

I was already in Florida when Lisa and Four arrived, so I scooped them up at the airport and headed to my grandparents house where my mom and niece would be joining us from Maryland. It’s an understatement to say that I was as excited as a kid at Christmas. Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa. Or some other occasion where kids get really excited. I was more excited than a kid excited at any of those things.

My grandmother, better known as Nena (pronounced Nee-naw), was the first person to see Four and her face lit up in a way I haven’t seen in years. The minute she spoke Four almost jumped out of my arms smiling and laughing hysterically. Witnessing that interaction, between two of the people that I love most in the world, ranks among the happiest moments of my life.

NenaFourblog

That happiness might only have been equaled when my mom held her grandson.
momfourblog

The visit got better and better, like my looks, as time went on. Watching my mom, my grandparents, my niece Cassi, my wife, and my son together melted my heart.

bad ass dad - frank prather

Leaving wasn’t as emotional as I’d expected, but only because Lisa and Four stayed behind for two more days. The thought of them further bonding with my family made it a bit easier to return home.

The only disappointment was that I couldn’t join the dynamic duo on the next leg of the trip, to North Carolina to see my dad and stepmother. I would have loved to see Franklin Nathaniel Prather 4 meet Franklin Nathaniel Prather 2, but luckily Lisa captured the moment for me.

frank prather

Four even got a surprise visit and corresponding outfit from his Uncle Casey. The back should say, “And I just took one.”

caseyfour

I’m not sure anyone was more excited leading up to Four’s impending visit than my stepmom, Brenda. No doubt Four can’t wait til he’s old enough to work her for whatever he wants during visits.

dadbrenda

Lisa and Four stayed back East for almost six days after I left. I returned to Los Angeles to get back to work and tried to embrace what I thought was some much needed alone time. What I discovered while “relaxing” wasn’t that I needed alone time, but that I needed my family. I missed my wife and son so much that I didn’t know what to do without them. I tried reading, I tried writing, I tried watching TV, working out, and riding my motorcycle. None of it was enough to distract me from the palpable feeling of emptiness without them there. What I did use the time for was to reflect on how much I also needed the rest of my family, and how much I want Four to grow up knowing them, and not just via Skype or Facetime. He deserves to experience firsthand, on a regular basis, the unfathomable amount of love that exists in every member of my family, as I was fortunate enough to experience my entire life. I promised myself that he would see them multiple times every year regardless of work or other obligations.

Just prior to my arrival in Florida I was in Louisiana for work, meeting a family that’s being considered for their own TV show. The father of that family posted quite a few photos to social media and tagged them with words that have played on a loop in my head ever since I sat in a room watching the people that I love the most together —- #familyovereverything.

Family over everything, indeed.

dinner

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.

What I Learned From My First Father’s Day

What I Learned From My First Father’s Day

I’m a dad.

That thought recurs periodically throughout each day, and every time I’m hit with a surreal sense of wonder. I wake up in the morning, there’s my baby. I get home from work, there’s my baby. I get a text in the middle of the day, there’s a picture of my baby. It’s not as if I ever forget that I have a son, but rather that my mind is occasionally occupied with other thoughts until his existence unceremoniously dropkicks those “other thoughts” out of my head.

This past Sunday, my first Father’s Day as a dad, there was not a single moment where any thought other than, “I’m a dad” was able to cross my synapses. It actually began a day early, on Saturday, when the first card arrived from my mom. Sunday started with a text at 5:59am from my stepmom, followed by one from my mother-in-law, my dad, then a bunch of friends throughout the day.

text1 text2 text3

There were also some awesome cards.

Father's Day Cards

Most importantly, there were these two:

LisaFour

That’s my wife, Lisa, and my 4 month old son Frankie, aka “Four”.

My Father’s Day kicked off with a family walk at the beach, pushing Four along in his stroller with his fat little feet sticking out just enough to feel the warmth of the sun. We passed quite a few other couples doing the same thing, each time the dad and I exchanging a nod and a knowing smile. It was an unspoken acknowledgment that we were proud members of the new dad club, and that this was our day. In many ways it was similar to the looks I get from other bikers when I’m sitting on my motorcycle, only this felt way cooler. I never imagined that pushing a quiet stroller would make me feel infinitely more Bad Ass than a roaring 1600 cc Harley.

Dad with stroller at beach

Lisa took me for sushi after the beach and Four cooperatively slept through the entire lunch.

Next we headed to treat ourselves to some Açaí bowls and boobs, both refreshing on a hot summer day.

boobandbowl

Our final stop was  so that I could revisit 1982, the last time I bought a pair of Van’s. That particular pair were the black and white, checkered slip-ons a la Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” which 12 year old me watched hundreds of times just to see Phoebe Cates boobs. The new kicks I treated myself to have laces, and no checkers, because my son seemed to like this pair more.

FourShoes

On a side note, growing up in Maryland, I loved Fast Times because, to me, it romanticized the idea of living in a Southern California beach town where life appeared to be sunshine and boobs every day. Funny how, 33 years later, I bought my second pair of Van’s in Hermosa Beach, just a few miles from where I live now, enjoying year round sunshine and a gorgeous Southern California bred wife with even better boobs than Phoebe Cates.

boobs

Sunday really was the perfect day. A simple time spent with my wife and my son, the two people that I love most in this world, and the two people who made me a dad. And, over the course of my first Father’s Day, I came to learn something I’ll endeavor to keep in mind for the rest of my life.

On Father’s Day, while everyone is honoring me, I need to remind myself that they’ve got it all wrong. To me, the day shouldn’t be about others honoring me, but about me honoring them. Honoring them for allowing me to take on the most important role I will ever have in my life, that of being a dad.

Frank Prather