This is Stephen Bourdeau, Cultural Business & Events Manager for the City of St. Albert.
Stephen, or Big Daddy Bordeaux as I call him (I’ve never ever actually called him that), is a man of multifarious head toppings. A Tina Fey fan, connoisseur of sharks and a semi-closeted juggler, Stephen has a vast breadth of expression that seems to bloom when a topic he likes is brought up. See the aforementioned list for conversation starters.
I first met him when my wife started working for the city a year and a bit back. I foggily remember that I had brought the Bean into the office for an introduction, he was still super new at this point, and he vomited on the floor in front of all of Elizabeth’s workmates. It was as triumphant as it was poorly timed (by poorly I mean hilariously).
Stephen is a major cog in the machine know as the International Children’s Festival of the Arts , which is starting this week and running from May 31 to June 4. He, along with my wife and hundreds of others, make Child Fest one of the most anticipated and well ran festivals in Western Canada.
With that in mind, if you are reading this and have a hankering to volunteer or just want to visit the festival in general, visit HERE. I will be there as well volunteering along the Heritage Trail portion of the site. If you see me there, make sure to say hi by using the universally accepted introductory gift of a poorly drawn giraffe trying to put out a fire on its bow tie.
And now, on with the show:
For as long as you can remember, did you always want to be a father?
Yes. A major part of that though was based on the childhood I remembered. Which of course was a very one-sided view. Of course I wanted to have kids, I had a great time as a kid and reasonably (so I thought) assumed my parents had the same magical experience I had. In retrospect I should have looked into the other side of the story, being my parents. I think they would have added a lot of perspective to this and would have provided some well-needed perspective. Although becoming a parent is a leap of faith anyway.
Has it changed how you see the world?
Definitely. In one moment your world is completely spun around. You and your needs are no longer the priority in your life. That little ball of red, crying flesh is now priority number one. It changes everything.
What is one of the biggest surprises you’ve come across?
There are too many to count. Probably the biggest was how quickly they learn to manipulate you. I remember thinking, “I got this, parenting Yeesh. I can obviously outsmart a one year old” Hahahahahahaha. Oh, sometimes I slay myself.
The other big one was how much food those little beings can pack away. It is incredible! My wife and, two grown adults, fed ourselves quite comfortably on $300 a month. Combined weight of 300 lbs. We added 60lbs worth of children and now a good month is $1200.
Do you have an anecdote that (sort of) sums up your dad experience thus far?
Parenting is 1/3 love, 1/3 patience, and 1/3 empty threats.
What advice would you give other dads?
Two points of advice:
1. With babies: enjoy it while it lasts. It gets worse before it gets better. And if you have have a boy – peepee teepees are a life saver. There is something about cold air.
2. With toddlers: they are smarter than you think. Never ask yes/no questions of your kids. The answer will always be the one you don’t want. Instead provide leading options. “Would you like to clean your room now, or later?” Ask any kindergarten teacher.
Anything else you’d like to add
Some wise words I were once given. “It is completely natural to want to give up at times or even to strike out. This does not make you a bad parent. There is always something good coming around the corner that makes it all worthwhile.”
A note from Elizabeth: New volunteers must have a valid CRC available or are under 18 and can provide a signed youth waiver from a parent or guardian.