Men of a certain age may aspire to be MacGyver. When he rolled out such improbable solutions as plugging a sulfuric acid leak with chocolate (sugar reacts with acid, forming carbon and a leak-stopping residue), couch heroes everywhere were wishing they had a paper clip and some gasoline so they, too, could perform amazing feats. Dads after divorce, desperate to dazzle their daughters and sons, deserve some directions on derring-do.
Ice Cream Head
You and your children are out and about on your weekend with them. Little Lindy loves ice cream. She licks—and screams—because of brain freeze. Say no more, MacGyver dad to the rescue: have her press her tongue hard against the roof of her mouth. It helps to warm up your mouth, sending a signal that your brain is not, in fact, cold.
When little Lindy speaks to your ex-wife, she will regale her with tales of how super-cool Dad is to put a stop to super-cold brain freeze.
As soon as you tell your kids not to touch something, what do they do? Touch it. Again, and again. So you’re having some quality time with the kids, and your wise-guy son finds the Super Glue and proceeds to glue his fingers to his ear. No need to panic. The folks at Super Glue remind MacGyver Dads everywhere that acetone easily dissolves the bonds created by the glue.
When your wise-guy son returns to school, he can share a triumph of Dad, super scientist with Super Glue. Instead of, you know, a tale of the emergency room…
De-Dent with Daddy
Maybe you’re driving around in a less-than-modern car. Or your darling daughter may ding the Dart with her dirt bike. A hair dryer and some dry ice can do the trick on de-denting the damaged Dodge.
Your child can help with parts of this (not the dry ice—danger, danger!). It makes a fun and useful activity to share, and it leaves your car looking better.
Time with your kids is precious. You never want to reprimand, but only encourage. Yet you know they screw up—everyone does. Suppose you have visitation time and Sally is ready for softball, or Bob is ready for baseball. Use the insoles out of an old pair of sneakers to show proper foot placement in the batter’s box. They cannot argue with insoles, and you can coach without being a heel.
Shop with Pop
A visit to the mall can be fun and relaxing, until you bring home the toys with their armor-plated plastic packaging. Skip the stress and tears: use a hand-operated can opener to plow through those heat-sealed edges. Masterly, MacGyver!
The lad and lady love their Legos, but the little bricks are known assassins. Let them have their fun, knowing you can MacGyver the plastic minefield using a thin dress sock and your vacuum cleaner. Put the sock over the vacuum hose, push it into the hose a bit and secure it with a rubber band, then vacuum up the bricks. They will stay securely in the tube without going into the vacuum, and you can drop them into the toy bucket by turning off the machine.
She wants you to help with a hair tie. Forget it, father. You are a Dad, unpracticed with those evil elastic menaces. Use a pipe cleaner instead; twist it around the base of the gathered hair, then wrap around.
Cool at School
Most of the MacGyver moments involve gadgets and geegaws. This one involves brains. Your child is struggling in school, possibly making you feel guilty about the divorce or your Uncle Dad issues. Try this: challenge your daughter or son to get a 0 on the next quiz.
Yes, a 0. Nothing, no points. Even if your child deliberately tries to sabotage herself, she will likely never get a 0, because random guessing on multiple-choice or true/false will earn some points. In order to get a 0, your kid has to know the right answer to get the wrong one, which means more studying, not less.
Aha! Once your child succeeds in scoring a 0 by studying hard enough to not pick every right answer, she or he also knows how to pick every right answer the next time, to score a 100.
One of the cleverest tricks any MacGyver Dad can do is to have the services of a good men’s family law attorney. Contact The Firm for Men or call our offices at 757-383-9184 to arrange an appointment. We cannot help you make an airplane out of a shoe, but we can absolutely help you with questions about child custody, spousal support, and more.