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Man opening a smoky oven

I Burned The Bacon!

It was Sunday morning. In an attempt to get over lingering bronchitis, my wife Adrianna was at the stove with her face over a steaming pot of water. I had just finished cooking a four-star breakfast and was anticipating the finale – bacon – to finish in the oven. I started a load of laundry and waited for Sophia to bring her dirty clothes downstairs.

Earlier that morning, Sophia asked if she could have some time on her tablet. I said she could after she did the following tasks: get dressed, brush her hair and teeth, and bring down her laundry. Sophia reluctantly went upstairs to accomplish her list, anticipating her reward when she was done.

About 10 minutes later, she came downstairs dressed, hair done, teeth shining, and dirty laundry basket in tow.

"Can I have my tablet now?" She asked.

I started to reply: "I want you to make your bed and put away your clean ..." But before I could finish, Sophia belted a loud "But you said," followed by stomping up the stairs. I quickly called her out for having a sassy attitude. Adrianna looked up from her stove-top facial and gave me "the look." The one she gives when I've messed up. Before I could say anything, her nose crinkled and she said, "I smell something burning."

"Oh no!” I exclaimed. “The bacon!"

I opened the oven and removed the pan. Smoke billowed out. Adrianna looked at the pitiful charred bits and calmly said: "That is what happens when heat is constantly kept on something. It burns."

Ouch! Not only did I burn the bacon, I left the heat on my expectations for Sophia and became upset when the grease sparked a flame. Sophia held up her end of the bargain, but I didn't live up to mine. Sometimes, as parents, we put so much heat on our expectations for our children that we run the risk of leaving a burning smell that lingers in the home.

As a parent who is committed to being more aware, I am learning to keep an eye on my own words and actions, not only Sophia’s. When I pay attention to the level of heat I am putting on, and notice when the bacon sizzles, I can prevent it from burning.

Want to up your Dad game? Join other dads at our Dad Talk discussion groups the first Thursday of each month. Dad Talks are part of the CHKD Dads in Action program. To learn more or register for events visit

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 14 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.