The Progenitor Day Challenge

Photo of my daughter holding a crumbled banana dog in her hand ready to eat.

This banana dog (hot dog bun, banana and a mixture of peanut butter and honey) is part of the "hobo picnic" prescribed in the 1984 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Step-by-Step Kids' Cookbook. So what other things to hobos eat? Apples, cookies, canned fruit juice and pickle pops, all wrapped into a banana suspended from a stick. If going on a true picnic, coat the banana with lemon juice to retain its color.

My 4-year-old daughter has given me a clear view of how all future Father's Days should go down in our home.

Photo of my daughter's easel on which she has written Happy Fother's Day with a dry erase marker.

She was very proud to write this message phonetically on her easel.

1. Let dad sleep in.
2. Give Dad a handmade gift, in this case, a rock painted red with dollops of purple glitter. It's a paper weight she made in preschool.
3. Make dad brunch. In this case, handmade pizza, cinnamon rolls and banana hot dogs. I didn't try that last one.
4. Open another handmade gift, a drawing of my face.
5. Sing "Happy Father's Day" (like the birthday song) and hugs all around.

What was noticeably absent was a store-bought gift from my wife. No new gas grill. No lawn mower. No power tools. No card from Hallmark. No nothing. While my wife let me sleep in and helped my daughter cook, the focus on the holiday was on my daughter's expression of appreciation for me.

That's right. Mom doesn't give Dad a gift. That's what our wedding anniversary is for. And Valentine's Day. And my birthday. And Christmas. And underlying all of that is the fact that any product I genuinely need has probably already been purchased by me long before a holiday.

Now, I was hip to using the day as an excuse to dine out, but if we had done that, I would never have tasted my first spaghetti pizza for dinner.

Photo of my slice of spaghetti-crust pie, topped with pineapple, olives and bell pepper cooked in a glass pie dish. Each person's slice contained different toppings.

Here's my slice of spaghetti-crust pie for Father's Day dinner, topped with pineapple, olives and bell pepper. We used store-bought pizza sauce, giving the whole thing a lasagna-like taste. Our daughter didn't like her slice, partly because it's a new food and partly because my wife was gullible enough to top it with olive slices after our daughter asked for them. (Our daughter doesn't like olives.) This recipe is also from the Better Homes and Gardens Step-by-Step Kids' Cookbook.

So…. my point in all of this is to give Dad something that cannot be bought, and to keep Father's Day about how kids feel about their father.

What do you think? Is your family up for this kind of challenge? If Dad loves his new gas grill too much, why not buy it before the holiday? The same goes for Mother's Day. Keep Progenitor Days about children and their relationships to their parents.


5 Responses to “The Progenitor Day Challenge”

  1. Ticia says:

    We tried to do similar at our house. We also celebrated parts of it early, partially because my husband found one of his gifts. So, we wrapped the apron my kids had put their handprints on around the movie I could see him watching with the kids together in a few years (National Treasure 2, a great father and son movie) and gave it to him. For dinner on Friday the kids “helped” make english muffin pizzas, and apple bundt cake. He loved it, and it was a big hit.

    June 16th, 2008 at 4:55 am

  2. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Ah. We don’t do gifts on wedding anniversary or Valentine’s day. I have no problem with recognizing my husband as the father of my children with a small gift on Father’s day. When our son gets older, he’ll make homemade things as well.

    (In fact, they did a tracing of his hand and made a card for him in Nursery on Sunday. I was jealous. They didn’t do anything on Mother’s Day!)

    June 16th, 2008 at 6:27 am

  3. lindsey says:

    My husband and I have stopped giving actual gifts on these days. Instead we write a letter to each other showing our love and appreciation for the other. It’s so quick to forget during the daily grind and what a special reminder!

    DH also got his favorite breakfast – in bed – and his favorite dinner.

    Our son just turned two, so he wasn’t able to do much…but he colored him a picture and was very proud to present it to Dad.

    June 16th, 2008 at 6:49 am

  4. RobMonroe says:

    My wife and I have stopped doing Valentines Day (maybe a cute kid-style card) and gifts for other holidays. Gave it up years ago. If I want a new iPod, I don’t want to have to wait for six months to get it.

    Our daughter turned one last week, so the focus of most of the weekend was on her anyway. I did see one of the coolest things that I wanted to share.

    57 Chevy Convertible with the top down – father driving with late teen/early 20′s daughter singing their hearts out to “My Girl” at the top of their lungs on a Sunny Father’s Day. I had to open my window to express the joy that their display brought to me!

    I want experiences with my children, not necessarily gifts. (and I’m going to pass that idea along to my wife)

    June 16th, 2008 at 8:06 am

  5. Jennifer says:

    I love your father’s day. My stepson took his dad out for breakfast (which was very well recieved and then they enjoyed time together, something they don’t get a lot of as he is older now.

    I did the whole phone-call-to-dad since they are out of state, but I did spend the day remembering my favorite times with my dad.

    By the way, you should have tried the banana sandwich, it wouldn’t have been so bad.

    June 16th, 2008 at 9:08 am

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