My trip to Mylanta, aka don’ts for dads

I’m blaming my weekend-long stomach ache on Friday morning’s glazed donuts. Or maybe it was the airport food. Or the two bumpy flights within 24 hours. Or the plethora of beans at Hard Rock Cafe. Or even the numerous nauseating views from 65-72 stories up. Coulda been any of them, or maybe the unhappy combination of them all. But I’m sure it started with the donuts.


I’ve been on a diet lately, so anything particularly rich or strong is likely to set me off. Yeah, the donuts had to be the start of the downward spiral. I can’t eat anything crispy or creamy, so when you combine the two (and misspell them), I’m in trouble. So those three and a half Krispy Kreme glazed donuts Friday morning were a definite mistake.

But I had to do it. The event was called Donuts for Dads — I would have looked like an ingrate if I’d turned them down.

This is something the first-graders at my sons’ school do each year. I believe the philosophy behind it is, the kids are out of school when Father’s Day hits, so they pick an ordinary day during the year to lavish us with gifts and cholesterol. I can’t remember if it fell during November when Christopher was in first grade, but I bet it did. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the event takes place as far from mid-May — the time for Mother’s Day — as possible, without rounding that bend and heading back toward that time of year again. Can’t have both parents adulated too close to one another, right?

Regardless, here’s how it works: the kids make cute little gifts for their dads, then the dads come to school at the start of the day, receive their gifts, pose for father-child photos, and walk to the Multipurpose Room for donuts, coffee and juiceboxes.

The gifts were a necktie cutout, painted by the child and attached to a length of yarn in order for the dad to wear it over his head; a “DAD” magnet decorated with little foamie icons of fatherhood/being a guy; and hand-shaped booklet, colored and personalized by the child and called “Give Dad a Hand!”

The pages of each booklet had sentences started by the teacher, but completed by the children. Page 1, for example, said, “My Dad is handy. He is good at doing things like _______________.”

Most dads would probably get a fill-in like “painting the house” or “fixing the toilet” but Matthew filled in “teaching the cub scouts.” That, apparently, is the extent of my handiness — teaching.

What’s the saying about those who can and those who can’t? (sigh)

This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the things he wrote; they were very sweet. I’m just not crazy about the image it must give of me. It got even worse with a similar paper taped to the wall outside his classroom — each child filled in another series of sentences with specific information about their fathers. This one didn’t follow a “hand” theme; it was just random facts. And I was mortified by this incorrect tidbit on Matthew’s sheet: “My Dad’s favorite team is      UVA     .”

Wa-hoo-what?!? I went to Virginia Tech! I don’t mind that he didn’t remember that, but of all the incorrect answers to give, he had to pick the archrival of my alma mater — there’s no worse insult for a Hokie!

It’s impossible to be mad at this face.

Of course I won’t hold it against him — he’s never lived in Virginia, so he’s unaware of the rivalry. We live in North Carolina, where you can be sure his mother has schooled him on the difference between N.C. State and UNC. I’ll be sure to remind him where I went to school — some time in the future, when he won’t remember what he wrote, and therefore won’t feel the burning shame.

Meanwhile, I have to live with it. This doesn’t mean I’m taking a Cavalier attitude toward it; I’m simply willing to forbear. But why does it have to be stuck on the wall, for everyone to see? I don’t like having other parents think I’m one of those yahoos from Charlottesville; I’d almost rather be accused of having been part of the football program at Penn State.

He made up for his grievous error with other fill-ins from both the booklet and the paper on the wall. My favorite sentence from the booklet was this one: “My Dad gives me a hand when I do something well. He was proud of me when      I got a hundrid on my spelling test.     ” Read that again, knowing that I have triple-checked to make sure I typed it verbatim, and revel in the delicious irony — it just doesn’t get much cuter.

But it was this gem from the paper on the wall that really got to me: “I love it when my Dad       tells me he loves me     .” My Hokie heart grew three sizes that day. Heck, I even forgave him for the UVA gaffe and gave him a big hug before heading to the main event.

In the Multipurpose Room, they had stacks and stacks of those beautiful, green and white, flat-dozen boxes of Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. They’re not hot, but they’re free. Matthew told me ahead of time — dads can eat two, kids can eat one. But I found a loophole.

Earlier in the week, I’d received a heart-warming request from the mother of one of the boys in our Tiger Cub den — his dad was going to be out of town Friday, and he wanted his den leader (me) to be a “substitute.” (Technically, I think he wanted to sit with Matthew, but I was still touched by the request.)

His name is Jack, and he’s in a different homeroom, so his teacher sent him to us in Matthew’s homeroom, where he posed impatiently for a quick picture with both of us before running ahead to the Multipurpose Room while I read Matthew’s booklet and paper. I think he was afraid he’d miss out on his donut. We eventually caught up to him, and I tried to keep an eye on both boys while we were in the crowded room, but they naturally went in opposite directions with their donuts and juice.

Jack’s homeroom teacher spotted me from across the room, and came over to make sure he had found us. “Found and lost again,” I said, and she laughed at my “joke.” I’m still not sure she realized I was serious, but while she was laughing, I asked if, since I was doing double duty, I could have double the other dads’ ration of donuts. She assured me I could eat as many as I could hold — a dangerous offer to a man of my donut-eating skill — and thanked me again for watching Jack. I was about to admit that I hadn’t watched jack when I caught a quick glimpse of Jack’s head, bobbing through the crowd. “Sure thing!” I crowed. “There he is now!” That was the last I saw of him, but his mom sent me an email Friday afternoon to thank me, so I’m assuming he showed up where he was supposed to be after Donuts for Dads was over.

At least I got Matthew back to class before I left.

Matthew ran up shortly after that and told me he was full, stuffing half a glazed donut in my hand. I was fairly certain that he’d been standing right next to a trash can before he came over, but first-graders prefer to use their parents as waste receptacles. So I obligingly ate the other half before heading off to stake my claim to Jack’s dad’s share. I only ate one of his two; I figured it would be greedy to eat the second one, although I really wanted to — for something that’s 200 calories and 12 grams of fat, they really do taste lighter than air.

They didn’t feel that way later in the day, however — whether because I wasn’t used to eating something that sweet, or because I’d been a little stressed by eating them while searching for Jack. Regardless, the bad feeling in my stomach was only going to get worse with the rest of the weekend’s activities. I rushed through the day’s work, my mind on my upcoming air travel — something else that does bad things to my digestive system.

Friday night, Christopher and I had to fly to Atlanta, because yesterday morning, he had an audition for Kids’ Jeopardy!

(Please note — I’m not really the emotive type, and I didn’t stick that exclamation point there simply to show my excitement. It’s required, because it’s part of the show’s name — much like Yahoo! There, I did it again. I hate that. Maybe I should only use those names in the middle of a sentence, so it doesn’t look like I’m getting too excited. But that looks odd, too — naming Jeopardy! or Yahoo! in the middle of a sentence, forcing punctuation to appear where it shouldn’t be used inside of its normal context. See what I mean?)

Anyway, Christopher took an online Kids’ Jeopardy! test last month, along with 6000 other 10- to 12-year-olds. He was one of about 275 selected to advance to the next round, which is live auditions and more tests (without the benefit of a parent sitting at the computer with them this time) in one of four U.S. cities. We chose Atlanta.

Only King Kong wouldn’t be scared of the hotel’s height.

The auditions took place at the Peachtree Plaza Westin, billed as the tallest hotel in the western hemisphere. Our room was on the 65th floor, which didn’t help my digestive system any.

The airport food wasn’t exactly friendly, either. Yet somehow I let him con me into eating it at both our departure and arrival airports — and there wasn’t even 90 minutes of flying in between! (Okay, that time I meant to be emotive.)

The next day’s activities only served to exarcerbate matters. Not the audition, mind you, but the whirlwind of eating, touring and flying that took place afterward. But all of that’s a story for another time — suffice it to say, we won’t know whether Christopher made the cut for a while, so I’m not cheating you of any exciting news by stopping here. There were some interesting things that happened, but nothing so exciting that it can’t wait for a healthier blog session.

All I can say for now is, I don’t know why they call that place “Hotlanta.” After this weekend, I’m inclined to think “Mylanta” is more appropriate….

Addendum: As long as this is Freshly Pressed and I’m getting more views than I’m ever likely to see again, I’m going to totally whore myself and tell you that I’m selling an allegedly funny book.  A Nay for Effort has received lots of positive reviews; makes a great gift for whatever holiday you happen to celebrate; costs $14; ships for free through the end of this year; generates donations to teachers; and will help me buy more Krispy Kreme donuts!  (Exclamation point required, in this case.)  That is all; whoredom complete.


About Dan Bain

Dan is an award-winning humorist, features writer, emcee and entertainer from Raleigh, NC. His collection of humor essays, A Nay for Effort, has earned him fans from one end of his couch to the other. Why not join them and buy one? (You won't have to sit on his couch.) Dan will donate 10 percent of the book's proceeds to education. You can check it out at; thanks!
This entry was posted in Air Travel, Education, Father's Day, Parenting, Sports, The Kids and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to My trip to Mylanta, aka don’ts for dads

  1. Tori Nelson says:

    God bless your bowels…. wait. That was supposed to sound nice and it just ended up sounded gross.

  2. Haha! I just wrote an entire blog post about my boyfriend, who breaks out in HIVES when he flies — and we just returned from a few bumpy flights of our own. Now, Krispy Kreme doughnuts were not involved … but I can tell you Bloody Marys were. Quite a few of them…

    (of course, we were without children on this flight…)

    And BTW, I LOVED your annoyance at the exclamation points. Agreed!


    • Dan Bain says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • Patricia says:

        Ok, now I feel self conscious…… my love affair with !!!’s just took a hit.
        Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed (normally I would use an exclamation point here, but I won’t) (or here).
        I am a new reader of your blog. I clicked on your FP blog link, because Mylanta was always my Grandfather’s cure of choice. Not that I am comparing you to my Grandfather, you look a lot younger than he ever was in the days that I knew him. But I can still hear the sloshing of Mylanta as he shook the bottle – a signal that he was in trouble gastronomically (no ! here either?). Although I don’t think I ever saw him eat a donut, Krispy Kreme was not in our part of Canada at that time; and Tim Hortons was on a slow climb upwards – I did see him eat everything else. Everything. He did not have a sense of smell, so alot of what others would not touch because of the smell, he would thoroughly enjoy. Such as pigs’ knuckles. I needed Mylanta just to be in his presence at those times. (no ! point??).
        Anyway, this is your story.
        Your son sounds wonderfully cute and clearly loves his Dad. It is a great reason to suffer three and a half Krispy Kremes, three and a half?? really??!!!!!!!! (whoops, keyboard malfunction). Which is waaaaaay better than: “My Dad is handy. He is good at doing things like fixing the toilet.”

        I did quite enjoy your post, and will most likely check back in now and again. Good luck to both you and your son on the Jeopardy! tryouts. That would be quite exciting.

        Enjoy FP, it is well deserved.

        • Patricia says:

          By the way, serious question, what is the issue with !’s? Is it a grammar thing, or you just don’t like them? Since my venture into this blog world, I hope I have not been ticking every reader off by too many !’s. (can I use one there?)

          I would appreciate your thoughts.
          (Also, I cannot stop ‘signing’ my comments – is that bad?)

          • Dan Bain says:

            Whoops, forgot to answer the question about signing in my other reply. No, it’s not bad — I think it shows good manners, like signing a letter. I guess I don’t have manners, though, as I haven’t signed many of my replies here.

            – Dan

        • Dan Bain says:

          Thanks very much for your comments and compliments! (That exclamation point is acceptable, as I do try to show enthusiasm when saying thanks.)

          Don’t feel self-conscious — there’s nothing wrong with exclamation points unless they’re overdone. I use them when I’m trying to convey enthusiasm or excitement. But proper names that have them built in (like Jeopardy! and Yahoo!) make it confusing to read a sentence the right way. For example: “I searched on Yahoo!” That sounds like the writer is really excited about their search, which would be kinda weird.

          And the “A” in “UVA” is part of our postal code for Virginia — VA = Virginia, so people have always referred to the University of Virginia as UVA.

          Thanks again for visiting, reading and commenting!

  3. maryct70 says:

    As the mother of a current Tiger Cub, I would never dismiss the skill and patience it takes to “teach Cub Scouts”. It sounds like you have a couple of boys who make you proud every day. Congrats, and best of luck with Jeopardy!

    • Dan Bain says:

      They do, and thanks! And I wouldn’t dismiss teaching Cub Scouts, either — it just didn’t sound “handy.” But I’m actually very touched that he thought of it!

  4. Miranda Gargasz says:

    So sorry your intestines revolted. Not good! BTW: Those who can, teach. Those who can’t pass laws about teaching. 😉

  5. “I love it when my Dad tells me he loves me.” ~ so precious and so worth the cholesterol, right? 😉

    God bless Krispy Kreme doughnuts…bringing families together one doughnut at a time…

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  6. Ammon says:

    Being a dad rocks! Donuts for Dads > Teatime with Moms.

  7. randomsensibility says:

    Awwww. Your little boy is cute! Oh, I’m sorry. Your little boy is so cute.

  8. LC Aisling says:

    Thank you for a good read and they do taste lighter than air.

  9. A great reminder of how quickly childhood passes, wishing I could be there having Mornings for Moms. Congrats on well deserved FP!

  10. valentinedee says:

    You had me on ” . . . when my dad says he loves me”. How loving and special is that?

  11. Eva McCane says:

    hilarious! well done. and i too get a gut ache from too many glazed doughnuts and airport food. thanks for sharing!

  12. Good luck with the show, very exciting! (I meant to do that! )

  13. How to DJ says:

    great post, I am a new Dad, can’t wait to see who my son picks as my favorite NHL team 😉

  14. Hatboro Mike says:

    Oh the sacrifices us fathers (and mothers) make!

  15. designdakotastyle says:

    Thank you for sharing – such a great insight into the mind of a not fully grown person. (Forgive me, I hate children). Loved it.

  16. Great post (what a good job you son’s school does with their emerging literacy dictation). Is it possible the adult taking dictation asked which was your favorite team with “Virginia” as the response…and she just added on the rest herself? (tryin’ to help you out here…and having been in that recorder’s position myself once…please let me not to have insulted anyone by mistake.) Thanks for the giggles.

  17. Kate Spyder says:

    Wonderful post.! (yes I just had to add it). My daughter and I love telling each other ‘I love you’, our favorite is “I love you” (me), “I love you too” (her), “I love your more!” (me), then she starts it “I love you” (her), “I love you too” (me), “I love you more!” (her). We tend to end our day with saying it which gives us both a wonderful feeling. Oh and the Krispy Kremes, we walked past a fund raiser selling Krispy Kremes outside of Wal-Mart. I felt so guilty I went back (and yes I really wanted one, okay two or more), but being the responsible parent I am, I asked them about the ingredients. They held the box up (it was on the bottom) and unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your perspective), I had to turn them down because it has hydrogenated oils in it which my daughter is allergic to. So yeah, we avoided the digestive problems and was so sorry to hear you didn’t.

    • Dan Bain says:

      Thanks for the compliment and the concern — I feel much better now.

      The boys and I have this corny thing where, if we can’t say it out loud, one of us will point to his eye, then to his heart, then to the other person — and the other person will answer by pointing to his eye, then to his heart, then to the first person, and then hold up two fingers. Yup. Corny, but effective.

  18. Congrats Dan! I’m so happy for you! Woo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well deserved!


  19. critters and crayons says:

    Congratulations, Dan!!!!!! Freshly Pressed! Woot Woot!!!!!

  20. critters and crayons says:

    And the “I love when my dad tells me he loves me” makes up for all other transgressions for life. 🙂

  21. wow. if you composed this post while feeling dough-nauseous, kudos to you! (i AM an emoter.) i find my kids to be my consummate muse. the material just keeps coming.
    this is the only one of your blogs i’ve read so far, but after doing so, i quickly subscribed to your site. i’m looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

    • Dan Bain says:

      Thanks! And thanks for subscribing — I hope you enjoy it.

      I know what you mean about the kids being a muse. They are a constant source of inspiration, and the material tends to write itself.

  22. kvetchmom says:

    Love your blog. Very, very funny. Exclamation points get under my skin, too!

  23. Cathy Marlowe says:

    Enjoyed your story. You’d better get more VT stuff for your house – and soon! A Hokie bird pillow pet would be a great place to start.
    Can’t wait to hear how the “Kid’s Jeopardy!” decision went. How exciting!

    • Dan Bain says:

      Thanks, Cathy! I haven’t seen the Hokie Bird version, but Matthew loves pillow pets. We saw the N.C. State version recently, and there might be one of those in his future. He loves the soft VT football I have, though. He will never get any Cav merchandise….

  24. I love the “Mylanta” reference and the “I love it when my Dad tells me he loves me .” My daughter once wrote a similar comment when she was in elementary school. I thought this will be proof of what a great Mom I was when she reaches her cranky teen years. Actually, it’s something I have treasured over the years.

  25. arbohl says:

    This is sweet. The class I did my student teaching in did Donuts with Dads too. Also. I live in Atlanta now (migrated from Cincinnati) and rest assured when I tell you Hotlanta lives up to its nickname in the summer.

  26. Rob Rubin says:

    We homeschool our kids, so everyday is kind of Donuts with Dad in our house, though we are trying to eat better, so it’s been more like Tofu for Tots around here lately.

    BTW, I noticed you are in Raleigh. I am based in Holly Springs.

    Rob, The Mainland.

  27. The whole Atlanta/Mylanta thing was brilliant! Isn’t parenting fun? Crazy but fun! I loved your post and just signed up to be notified of future musing by Dan Bain. Looking forward to more!

  28. greatthingsinlife says:

    This post is awesome! i love it 🙂 It is totally hilarious.

  29. Angela says:

    Could your disdain at the UVA comment really be nervousness about the pending football game?! Haha, enjoyed the post, especially the very subtle Cavalier joke, even as a former Wahoo (which doesn’t necessarily mean yahoo!). Good luck this Saturday. May the best team win!

    • Dan Bain says:

      Oh, I’m definitely nervous about the game; it’s the first time in quite a while (if ever) that tournament rights are riding on the Commonwealth Cup. Should be a good game — good luck to your ‘Hoos. Glad you enjoyed the post; thanks for saying so.

  30. KL says:

    Great Post! Had me giggling. My husband would have followed your example with getting the other Dad’s unclaimed donuts too! I must say, I am not a fan of those Mothers Day/Fathers Day things at school, but maybe that’s because they don’t give us donuts here in Australia! Well, not at my son’s school anyway! Must bring that up at the next P&C meeting…

  31. bandsmoke says:

    Wonderfully warm and funny blog and congrats on FP 🙂

  32. ACC sports – it’s a religion! (sorry for the exclamation point but so needed there) I understand your Hokie pain. Oh don’t mistake me for a Hokie – I’m a Clemson Tiger – but when we lived in Raleigh several years ago and my then 3-year old daughter came home from preschool saying “Go Pack”, well, we had to have a serious theological discussion with the Director. Precious son and good luck on Jeopardy!

  33. Loved this story….I have felt the bittersweetness at elementary school events also. Now, my youngest is a high school junior and kids that age rarely emote like 1st graders…about their parents anyway. On the flip side, I will now be sure to warn my travellers to Atlanta to NOT eat so many Krispy Kremes before they travel. LOL

  34. Pingback: Mostly Totally Weird Thanks’s (this is a new word) | onemikesmind

  35. Lisa Wields Words says:

    I’m a little late in reading this but what a great read. And, I personally think that if you are complimented for being able to teach your child anything, it is INDEED a compliment. I am great with teaching other kids but when it comes to me and my daughter we turn into a pair of head-butting goats.

  36. Megan Madill says:

    Haha, I am so with you on accidental piling-on of bad things. I had to take the morning off work today after a weekend in Nicaragua – combine a 9-hour bus journey (did I mention that I get motion sick?), raging heat, dehydration, a 45-minute hike on loose stones up a volcano, boarding down said volcano at speeds of up to 87 km/h, TWO 1-hour rides in the back of a truck on dirt-track roads (did I mention that I get motion sick?), three free mojitos at the hostel and another 9-hour bus journey the next morning… Oh, and did I mention that I get motion sick?

    So yeah, basically I feel your pain and sometimes free donuts/mojitos are free donuts/mojitos and you just can’t say no.

  37. They put something in those Krispy Kremes. It’s something that makes you hungrier when you only eat half of one… or a whole one. I swear it does. Krispy Kreme glazed donuts are the only kind I ever eat and I curse them every time. I can’t empathize with the other stuff, as I don’t have kids… but you have clearly not done a good enough job drilling your Hokieness into your children’s heads. Cult alum fail. Better luck with the other kid. Plant a Jeopardy! question, maybe. “This is the university Dan Bain attended.” “What is Virginia Tech?”

  38. wizmoto says:

    A fellow Hokie, I feel your pain. My second-grader has progressed, though, from mistaking the two Virginia schools to choosing to root for anyone that VT is playing. He does the same thing to my wife, from WVU, though, so I don’t take it personally. Currently, his favorite school is Syracuse.

  39. your son is cute ur right no one can be mad at that face

  40. Pingback: Mostly Totally Weird Thanks’s (this is a new word) « mj monaghan

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