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Will our son like curry?

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National Curry Week

This is a big question and not just because it’s currently National Curry Week here in the UK. In fact, it’s a question that I’d put it in the same category as ‘will our son like haggis?’. For some time, I have looked forward to being able to share my favourite sort of food with our son.

About a year ago, I tweeted ‘been enjoying watching our 6 month old son starting to eat solids – it’s mainly baby rice at the moment, hope we’ll soon be able to give him baby curry’. Within minutes, someone who saw my tweet decided to tweet back with a link to a recipe for vegetable and coconut curry that is suitable for babies as it’s not too spicy. As I haven’t yet made this curry for my son, the fact that it’s National Curry Week here in the UK from 13-19th October seems a good reason to put that right.

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Whilst a lot of people are wary about feeding spicy food to babies and toddlers, it seems that this can vary from one culture to another. I remember my mum telling me about a Sri Lankan friend who had little hesitation in feeding spicy dishes to her baby son. So far, our son has had a few mild curries and seems to quite like them. We’ve tried baby led weaning with him, and it’s generally worked fairly well.

The first time I remember having a curry was when I went to an Indian restaurant in St. Andrews (Scotland) with my parents when I was about ten. I loved the flavours of the spices and have been a big fan of curry ever since then. In fact, I have often planned journeys around trips to curry restaurants. From 2002 to 2004, I taught English at a university in Lille (France) and would head back to Leeds five or six times a year as I was registered for a Masters degree at the university there. I would get the Eurostar from Paris to London and make sure that I’d have enough time to have a curry at a fantastic restaurant near Euston station before getting the train up to Leeds.

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I’d go as far as saying that the number and quality of Indian restaurants and sweet shops on Drummond Street makes it one of my favourite streets in London. As a vegetarian, I love the fact that there are at least half a dozen Indian vegetarian restaurants on the same street. What is more, several of them do amazing lunch time buffets where it is possible to sample a fantastic range of starters, main courses and desserts. I have sometimes thought that their ‘eat as much as you like’ format could end up making them go bankrupt and me gain a serious amount of weight.

That said, going out for a curry has always been something that I’ve seen as a bit of a treat. We’re lucky to have a really good Indian takeaway called the Sittar in the village where we live. I heard a rumour that they’re going to set up a smaller branch in the village that offers childcare as well as tasty food. Apparently, they’re going to call it the Baby Sittar.

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I’d love to visit India one day and sample the cuisine in the land where it originates. There are doubtless various questions one can raise about the ‘authenticity’ of Indian food that is served up in countries such as the UK. In addition to the fact that a lot of what are generally called ‘Indian’ restaurants are run by Bangladeshis or Pakistanis, it may well be the case that the foods served up in some establishments are created in part to appeal to a British palate, However, this issue doesn’t really bother me. I am, after all, a Scotsman who eats vegetarian haggis rather than the traditional meat haggis and who serves this form of the national dish in burger form, in cannelloni or with couscous.

I’ve noticed that curries can often taste slightly different depending on where you are in the world. I haven’t noticed much difference between Indian food that is served in the UK and the US, but it’s not the same story in France or Spain. In France, curries that would be described as mild in the UK are often listed as medium spicy on restaurant menus. When I was in an Indian restaurant in Barcelona, I remember the waiter asking if I wanted the curry I’d ordered to be ‘medium British’ or ‘medium Spanish’.

Foods with an Indian twist form an important part of what we eat on special occasions, and massala nut roast with spicy tomato gravy is definitely one of my favourite vegetarian Christmas meals. It’s particularly good when served with Brussel sprouts that are stir fried with chilli and paneer (and Indian form of cheese). As our son grows up, I hope he’ll come to share our love of Indian food.

Do you have any particular foods that you like to eat as a family? Are there any events where you live where people celebrate a particular sort of food? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I’ve added this post to the following parenting blog link-ups:

Happy International Babywearing Week!

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babywearing week

Last year, we marked International Babywearing Week by visiting the nearby village of Sling with our son in a sling. A year on, we’re still carrying our now 18 month old son in a variety of different sorts of slings and we now live several miles closer to the village of Sling after a recent house move.

I’ve found myself blogging about babywearing several times over the last year, which reflects the fact that slings have come to be a lot more than simply a sort of ‘hands-free kit’ for carrying our son. As I’ve said here before, they have really helped me to bond with my son and helped to me to comfort him and get him to sleep on several occasions.

Here’s a look back at my own babywearing highlights of the last year:

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An obvious place to start is our visit to the village of Sling to mark last year’s International Babywearing Week. To add an international dimension, I also discussed babywearing around the world thanks to the input of a great range of parent bloggers who are part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs group.

Looking back a year on, I cannot believe how much our son has grown since the photo on the left was taken. We still carry him in slings from time to time, but this now officially counts as weight training.

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One of the places where I’ve often taken our son in a sling is our local supermarket and I wrote about this in a post earlier this year called Shopping with our son in a sling. It may seem like a mundane weekly activity, but it has also become a semi-regular weekend father and son bonding activity which allows my wife to take a break while we head out on a little expedition. I’m not sure if my parents took me shopping in a sling when I was a baby – the photo on the left seems to suggest that they tried to dress me in handknitted clothes that went with the shopping trolley.

2014-07-19 19.04.40Over the last year, I’ve also enjoyed sharing experiences of babywearing with fellow members of Sling Dads UK, a group that promotes babywearing among fathers.They also organized a Sling Dads Family Camp this summer, which led to me writing a post about Camping with a toddler. This post is the most popular one that I’ve written on this blog so far.

Over the last year, babywearing has really developed from being a way of getting out and about with our baby son to one which has provided a great form of bonding with him as he grows older and more aware of the world around him. Slings are a crucial tool when it comes to getting him to sleep in the evening when my wife is out. Finally figuring out how to get our sleeping son out of a sling and into his bed without waking him was one of my proud parenting moments. Most people probably manage to this before their child is over a year old, but I certainly wasn’t one of them.

I have at times wondered where my love of babywearing has come from. In some ways, it’s definitely due to my wife being very keen on slings. However, a photo that I discovered at my parents’ house when preparing a blog post entitled Like father like son suggests that the true answer may be that it’s genetic. As the photo below shows, my dad also carried me in a baby carrier back in the late 70s and early 80s. As I’m fast asleep in the picture, it looks like I quite enjoyed it!

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What do you think of babywearing and is it popular where you live? Have you ever carried your children in a sling and did your parents use baby carriers when you were young? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

18 thoughts from my 18th month as a parent

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18 thoughts

Muppets, moving house and making animal noises. Read about all these and more in my latest monthly collection of thoughts about parenthood.

1. I may have been singing too many Muppets songs to our 16 month old son. His answer to ‘what does the cat say?’ recently was ‘mahna mahna’.

2. Despite his confusion about what cats say, our son has been getting quite good at doing animal sounds this month. His sheep and lion sounds are a bit similar but he’s getting really good at doing ‘moo’ sounds despite the relative lack of cows in our area.

3. I’m not sure if our son wants to follow in my footsteps but it certainly looks like he wants to walk in my shoes (see picture below).

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4. Our son recently helped to unpack a whole bag of shopping. I’d put in on the floor while I opened the fridge door and he then handed me all the items one after another without me even asking. I hope that this is a sign of things to come!

5. Helping to wash the dishes is another thing that our son did this month. He managed to combine this with helping to wash the kitchen floor at the same time.

6. Our son’s helpfulness this month has also included playing a role in organizing my new office.

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7. Our son’s gradually starting to understand technology although he does sometimes put the television remote control to his ear and say ‘hello’…

8. …and he also seems to occasionally confuse cutlery and technology. He recently put a plastic fork to his ear and said ‘hello’.

9. Our son has been enjoying feeding corn to our chickens recently. He’s also occasionally tried to feed them clothes pegs recently, but they’ve turned their beaks up at them.

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10. In the week before we moved house, our son started making chicken noises in the kitchen while he was sitting in his high chair. He’d noticed one of the chickens peering in the window and seemed like he was trying to say hello. I like this progress towards multilingualism.

11. I recently carried out a parenting experiment to see whether an episode of Raa Raa The Noisy Little Lion or coverage of the live televised debate on Scottish independence would get our toddler son to sleep. Two episodes of Raa Raa weren’t enough, but he was fast asleep after half an hour of the independence debate.

12. Our son took a very ‘hands on’ approach to helping to pack boxes before we moved house (see picture below). I recently wrote a blog post about this entitled Moving house with a toddler.

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13. This month, I have learned that the way to get our son out of the bath without him crying is to let the water out of the bath and then lift him out.

14. When I stood on one leg at a bank machine, our son looked a bit puzzled. I tried to explain to him that I was checking my balance.

15. Our son is getting much better at steering his toddle truck. A few months ago in our old house, he’d just push it forward and cry when he bumped into something and couldn’t push it any more. He’d then wait for someone to come and turn the toddler truck around so he could push it some more.

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16. Our son decided to get up at 7am to watch coverage of the Scottish Indepedence Referendum results with me. I’m glad to see him taking an interest in politics at such a young age.

17. On way home after three days at a conference, I discovered one of our son’s little red socks in my trouser pocket.

18. It was a lot easier when I was writing posts such as ‘7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent’ :-) Anyway, I’ll see if I can keep going with these posts until our son turns two.

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a half as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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I have added this post the following parent blogger link-ups:

Being a Scottish Dad

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Being a Scottish Dad

On 18th September 2014, could be an historic day for Scotland as the country’s inhabitants are today voting in a referendum that could result in Scotland becoming independent from the United Kingdom. As a Scot who now lives in Wales, I’ve been asked about how this vote will affect by relationship with the country in which I was born and brought up. Indeed, I’ve been interviewed about this matter in Welsh on Radio Cymru and on television channel S4C.

Ultimately, I don’t think that the result of the referendum will have a major impact on how I see Scotland. It will always be the country where I was born and brought up and I am sure that I’ll always enjoy returning there. As I have lived outside of Scotland since 1998 and got married and become a dad in Wales, our son is likely to have a very different relationship with Scotland to the one I have. To get a flavour of what Scotland means to me as a parent, here are some blog posts that I have written about being from Scotland and sharing Scottish culture with our son:

First family trip to Scotland This summer, we went to Scotland as a family for the first time. In this post, I explain what it was liked visiting places that had been part of my own childhood.

Will our son like haggis? Read this post to find out about vegetarian haggis and what it means to me as a Scot living outside of Wales and what it symbolizes.

A Scottish dad’s thoughts about St. Andrew’s Day I wrote this post to coincide with St. Andrew’s Day (30th November) last year and discuss my own relationship with haggis.

Seamus Heaney, haggis and Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau Shortly after the death of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, I wrote this post in which I discussed having Irish roots, growing up

Have you ever been to Scotland? What sorts of traditions from your childhood do you try to share with your kids? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I’ve added this post to the following parenting blog link-ups:

Moving house with a toddler

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Moving house

Due to moving house, I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging recently. Now that we’ve been in our new place for just over two weeks, we’re feeling settled in our new abode even if we haven’t quite finished the unpacking yet. Our son seems to be enjoying having a bit more space inside and out in which to run around and appears to be fascinated by our garden shed.

In years to come, I’m not sure what – if anything – our son’s going to remember of the house that we recently moved out of. It’ll always  be a special place for my wife and me as it’s where we got engaged and also the place we took our son home to after he left hospital. It may well be that our son will only really become familiar with our old house through photos that we show him in coming years rather than memories of what it was like.

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We’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks surrounded by boxes. First of all, we spent a lot of time packing things up at our house and then we had to unpack them all at our new house. Our son seemed to like playing in the boxes and even played a small role in helping with the packing. Preparing for the move was made a lot easier thanks to several of our friends looking after our son or taking him out while we got on with tidying up our old house.

Think we've packed everything now, but where's out son got to?
Think we’ve packed everything, but where’s our son gone?

Our son can be quite helpful around the house at times and often likes nothing more than to walk around with a little brush and sweep the floor. As the picture below shows, he’s also been kind enough to help me tidy my office as well recently.

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One of the best things about being in a new house is having more space for our son to get his toys out. At our last place, the living room space could feel quite small when he had his ball pool out. Now, we can keep the ball pool out in our living room and not worry about it getting in the way. That said, he has recently been spending a bit of time walking around our new living room with a measuring tape as if he has some grand plans to make a few changes.

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It’s also great to have larger garden where our son is able to run around and have fun in the open air. He’s recently had a lot of fun feeding corn to our two chickens Dorothy and Myfanwy. Until recently, he’d normally drop the corn just outside the chicken run but just this weekend he’s actually managed to start throwing the corn into the run. Our two chickens are grateful for this improved standard of catering provision.

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For the first few nights after we moved, our son seemed to sleep less well than normal. This involved a triple whammy of not going to bed as early as normal, waking up during the night and getting up really early. Part of this might have been due to teething or having recently caught chicken pox (…not sure whether Dorothy or Myfanwy is to blame). He’s now sleeping a lot more and seems to be quite happy despite having chicken pox. We’ve got our fingers crossed that everything will be back to normal soon as we get used to life in our new house.

Have you ever moved house with your kids? Do you remember moving house when you were a child? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups where you can read lots of other posts about parenting:

17 thoughts from my 17th month as a parent

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17 thoughts

It’s time for another monthly list of thoughts about parenthood. This month’s compilation covers topics such as food, children’s television and monkey impressions.

1. Our son is currently conducting an experiment. He’s trying to find out how many blueberries he needs to eat before he turns into a blueberry himself.

2. Today I got slightly annoyed while watching a television programme for kids as a shape singing ‘I am a rectangle’ was clearly a cuboid. I tried to explain this to our son, but I’m not sure if he understood.

3. I think it’ll probably be a few years before my son and I have problems telling our shoes apart.

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4. 16 month old son has been walking around front room touching his nose and going ‘beep’ recently.

5. My son and I recently managed to keep ourselves entertained for about 20 minutes just by throwing a green sock at each other. It was a very enjoyable 20 minutes.

6. Our son’s been getting to know our two chickens a bit better recently and enjoys collecting the eggs from the chicken house (see picture below).

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7. I think our son had even more fun running around a furniture shop recently than he did last time we took him to a soft play centre. I think we’ve now discovered a new local free outing option for families for toddlers. Local parents – let’s try to not all go to the same shop at the same time, OK? :-)

8. Despite being 17 months old, our son still hasn’t worked out that it’s best not to try to eat porridge using his hands.

9. I really don’t want to be an overly competitive dad but I recently convincingly beat a five year old in a game of ‘Guess Who’ despite trying my best to lose.

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10. Our son has a lot of bath toys, but his favourite one at the moment is a light blue plastic spoon.

11. We’ve cut our son’s fringe twice but he hasn’t had a proper haircut yet and his hair is getting quite long at the back. Given that he has quite a few tie-dyed baby grows, he could soon end up looking like an early 1990s Andre Agassi.

12. One of our son’s favourite things at the moment is climbing up steps. Sometimes he puts on his frog trousers and hops all the way from the bottom step to the top step.

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13. Our son is getting good at copying animal noises and I had a real proud dad moment when he copied my chimpanzee impression.

14. Working at home is a lot harder than it used to be now that our son is getting so active. His new tactic is to start putting his toys on the table next to me when I’m busily working away. He recently tried to distract me with a knitted dinosaur while I was in the middle of marking a dissertation.

15. I have now decided to put 50p in our son’s money box any time that I swear while he is within earshot. I hope that this doesn’t make him rich and that he doesn’t try to get me to swear in order to receive more money from me.

16. Our son recently got really excited about a new dustpan and brush that we bought. Goodness knows what he’ll do if we get a new hoover.

17. It’s not just the dustpan and brush that our son’s fascinated by, it’s also our paintbrush and paint rollers. We’re going to be painting the front of our house soon, so maybe he’ll help us out :-)

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What do you mean I’m too young to be allowed to help paint the house?

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a half as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups, check them out to see a range of posts by fellow parent bloggers:

First family trip to Scotland

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First family trip to Scotland

We visited my native Scotland earlier this summer on our first trip with our then 15 month old son. Just as I had wondered how he would react to his first taste of vegetarian haggis back in January, I was eager to see how he’d respond to visiting the land where I grew up. In fact, he started letting out some little happy noises just after we told him that we’d crossed the border into Scotland.

Our son may well have a very different relation to Scotland to the one that I had. I was born in Scotland and lived there until I left to study at Leeds University when I was eighteen. Our son was born here in Wales last year and this may mean that his relationship to Scotland ends up being similar to my own connection with Ireland, the land where both my parents were born. By virtue of my wife being from England, our son would be eligible to play football for Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

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I had been slightly worried about our son making a bit of a mess at my parents’ house as it is a lot tidier and neater than our own house, in part due to the less frequent presence of food-throwing toddlers. He did have a go at re-arranging most of the contents of the spice shelf in one of the kitchen cupboards and ‘re-organizing’ a bookshelf (see 16 thoughts from my 16th month as a parent and Like father, like son), but thankfully my parents didn’t seem to mind. Indeed, he showed quite a commitment to tidiness by spending quite a bit of time playing with a mop as well as a dustpan and brush.

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It was great fun going on a family trips to places that I’d been to regularly as a child, even when it was only the local play park. I particularly enjoyed our trip to Craigtoun Country Park near St. Andrews, somewhere that had been a real favourite of mine when I was primary school age. I’d been sad to see that it was threatened with closure within the last few years, but thankfully it was saved by a community group that largely took over the running of it.

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The park’s attractions include a boating lake, crazy golf, trampolines, a play park, train rides and lots of space for having picnics and running around. I had worried that it would not live up to my expectations given how much I’d enjoyed it as a child but found that the play park had grown a lot bigger and that the track for the train ride was much longer than it had been. The train rides had been one of my favourite parts of the park as a kid and apparently I once insisted on going on something like eight or nine train rides in a row. Perhaps for this reason, the park now has a different ticketing system which involves buying tickets for a set number of rides (…although there is an unlimited day pass option).

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Our on wasn’t all that bothered about the train ride and almost nodded off to sleep during the circuit of the park. However, he did seem to really enjoy riding on some tricycles in an area where there was a perhaps misplaced sign telling visitors ‘no backflips or somersaults to be attempted’ and managed to restrain his gymnastic inclinations. Back home at my parents’ house, there were plenty of other things to enjoy (…such as being able to relax and being cooked for!). It was also great to see our son playing with some of my favourite toys from my toddler days. These included a set of plastic stacking cups that my parents have now kept for over thirty years.

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It was also great to go on trips with not just my wife and son, but also my parents. There was something special about three generations of our family going places together. These included Kinshaldy Beach, which is on the coast of North East Fife. Although it was a bit blustery, we all managed to have a paddle and build some sandcastles (…as well as take turns trying to prevent our son from eating sand).

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As we’ll soon be moving house, our trip to Scotland has been our only real trip away this summer. This trip home involved visiting many familiar places and these places became all the more special again as they took me back to my own childhood and I loved seeing our son enjoy them too. I’m not sure if he’ll remember his first trip to Scotland in years to come, so I might just have to show him this blog post!

Do you remember taking your kid(s) to places that you visited as a child? Did the places live up to expectations and what did your kid(s) think? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Related posts

Seamus Heaney, Haggis and Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Will our son like haggis?

A Scottish dad’s thoughts about St. Andrew’s Day

Like father, like son

16 thoughts from my 16th month as a parent

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

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