Editor/Co-founder's note: Dan is an amazing dad to our two boys. Read on to see his creative problem solving skills (which change French Broad Chocolate for the better every day) in action with his parenting. We love you, Dan!
Tuesdays are a tricky night to cook dinner, as I regularly attend a qigong class after work. (If you’re ever witness to me hustling downtown with a bag of clothes and a wooden staff, that’s where I’m headed.) Sam was advocating for our Tuesday dinner to be out at a nearby Thai restaurant. His buddy had raved about a dish of pineapple fried rice, so Sam had set his taste compass in that direction. Max was not so easily bought in to such an exotic choice, having found his last experience unsatisfactory, what with some bean sprouts, scrambled eggs and crushed peanuts crowding in on his plate of sweet noodles and crispy chicken! That boy would live solely on chicken sandwiches (and chocolate when it’s not meal time), if we would let him.
I am proud of Sam’s spirit of culinary adventure, and sometimes annoyed with my younger spawn’s narrower palate. But I’ve recently made a discovery that, when I can try aligning my agenda (eat a varied and colorful diet) with my kid's (eat only familiar foods), we can actually have fun co-creating a harmonious solution. And so came into being Max’s fried rice: crispy fried chicken, lightly cooked carrot slices (with that jagged edge characteristic of Asian restaurants), and Thai-seasoned fried rice. A winner. Add a Rubik’s cube that the boys can take turns scrambling to challenge each other, and I’m really feeling the success of our outing. I haven’t yet managed to learn the algorithms Sam and Max have committed to memory, so it’s still magic to see them solve that cube! The puzzle I am proud of solving? How to get Max to agree to eat at a Thai restaurant.
Another harmony puzzle recently solved: the age-old sibling fight over SHOTGUN, which - until recently - they fought over relentlessly. Whoever called it first would win the privileges of riding up front, and also control the stereo. One day, Max called shotgun (usually did, usually won) but Sam was feeling defiant, and sat there anyway. Well, when Max stood outside the front passenger door, refusing to get in the back seat, and we were already late, I began to lose it: I started yelling at him to get in. Then my yelling escalated to include Sam, at whom I began bellowing that he needed to get in the back, too!
Then, the puzzle piece snapped into place.
"Both of you will sit in the back until you present to me, in writing, rules of shotgun to which you both agree."
“Fine,” said Max.
“Fine,” said Sam.
I’ve quietly witnessed this stalemate work wonderfully! When one of them is riding alone with me, they join me up front, but I’ve received zero resistance when I gently remind my passenger that he needs to get in the back when we pick up his brother, who will also get in the back.
Harmony. Finding it in bizarre places, but finding it. One of the best parts of being a dad. Cheers to that!
For our Bourbon and Beer collection, we found harmony between chocolate and some of my favorite booze and brews. Perhaps most unlikely and awesome among these discoveries, is the bitterness of an IPA with a chewy caramel and dark chocolate, with a peanut to complement!
Co-founder/Chief of Innovation /Dad/Human