Maybe you take your daughter out for ice cream to bond with her, or read to her every night. That's sweet but compared with dads in blogland, it's a bit amateurish.
While a trio of fathers who document their parenting styles online maybe not be your typical "daddy bloggers," they have raised the bar for their peers. The dads spend days in their workshops building heirloom toys, craft models of the Eiffel Tower out of pancake batter and dress as pirates and Disney characters as they send their sons off to school each morning. The Globe and Mail asked these wonder dads why they do what they do.
Name: Jim Belosic
Shtick: Creates fanciful pancake models for his daughter every Saturday
Home: Reno, Nev.
Why pancake art instead of some other activity? "I think when we started this she was about two so she didn't really do many activities yet. As soon as I can get her onto a Go-Kart or a dirt bike or something I will," he says. One Saturday morning he tried to recreate the "Mickey Mouse pancakes" of his youth for his daughter, Allie, 4. "I made it for her and she was like, 'Enh … it's all right. But how 'bout a poodle?' I thought, 'I can do that.' So I made a poodle and she thought it was the coolest thing ever."
How has the blog's success affected what he posts? His blog has attracted millions of readers, he's been on the Rachael Ray show and featured in Esquire magazine. "I never intended for it to be viewed by more than about 10 or 15 people. At the end of the day, I'm still kind of selfish about it. I'm doing it for Allie and us."
Favourite creation: "One of my favourites ever was bacon and eggs. I like the ones that are kind of comical. Everyone asks me if the 3-D ones, the really difficult ones, are my favourite. They're fun to take a picture of, but they don't taste as great," he says. "Allie's favourite is anything involving a poodle or a princess."
Impact of the blog: "When it blew up, one of the best things about it - an unintended consequence - was that people would write me and say, 'Hey, I did this with my kids and they absolutely loved it and this is our new weekend tradition, thank you so much.' "
Name: James Floyd Kelly
Shtick: Builds toys for his kids and encourages them to build
Why not just buy things for his kids? "We live in this world where you can go to Wal-Mart or Target and buy pretty much anything and it's usually made of plastic. If it's made of wood, it's balsa that's so cheap or MDF. If it gets wet, it's going to fall apart."
He wants his kids to embrace DIY culture - but what if they don't? "Whatever their interests may be, I will get behind them, if it's sports or what have you. But I want them to see me, when I make something, I want them to see there's value in planning it out and putting the time into it to make it work properly.
What's his most impressive creation? The father of two turned a home video of his son into an old-school photo flipbook, transferred his kids' activity books to the iPad and built a train track around his son's room that can launch a model train at the press of a button. But he's put the most thought into a handmade racer toy car he built from wood for his son's first birthday. "I look at it and I think I'm happy for him to get it but I'm also happy for myself."
Name: Dale Price
Shtick: Dresses up in outlandish costumes every day and waves to his eldest son as he gets on the school bus
Home: American Fork, Utah
Inspiration for the blog: On the first day of school, Mr. Price waved to his 16-year-old son, Rain, as he boarded the school bus. "[Rain]came to his mother and said, 'Mom, please don't let Dad go out there again.' And I heard him say that, I said, 'Ohhhhh. Really? Well, you know what? I love you so much I am fully going to go against your wishes.' "
What's the most popular costume? "One would be the Little Mermaid, which I'm not all that proud of. The flippers came from another costume that was a King Triton one. And Wendy's girl, a red wig. I went to a dollar store and found that shell bra for $1. The other most popular is the toilet."
Isn't all this mortifying for Rain? Actually, he and his friends think it's a riot. "[Critics are]trying to create something that it was harmful to my son and it creates bullying. We have this great relationship and we're friends and we laugh and he's not that kind of shy child where we're going to cause him to get introverted," says Mr. Price, who has two other children. "I'm creating memories. If it did bother him, as a father, I wouldn't do it."
Interviews have been condensed and edited.