Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

Ghost Puppets and a Dragon

It’s Halloween again and my kids’ environment has had an effect on them, especially my daughter.  She seems to have absorbed the whole witches, pumpkins and ghosts thing even though I didn’t think that we pushed it that much.  We’ve limited ourselves to one seance per night for the last week.  It’s funny how much of an impact a couple of floating transparent spirits can have on a three-year-old, let alone an almost forty-year-old (me).

My little angel decided to use a veil-like cloth from her dress up clothes as a disguise the other day.  She put it over her head and walked toward her brother and me with her arms out in front of her.

“I’m a ghost, daddy.”

“Ooh, I’m scared, little ghost,” I said. 

I really wasn’t because I could tell that it was she, but I wanted to play along.  The biggest give away was the use of the word daddy while she advanced toward us.  She’s worked on her sharing skills lately and decided to let her brother be the ghost by putting the cloth over his head and telling him to say boo.  He wasn’t keen on the idea and ripped it off of his dome with a little extra umph as if to say, don’t do that again.  I was designated ghost next and I played it up hard until the boy used the same technique to remove the veil from my face.  He either didn’t like my Vincent Price-esque boo or he wanted to see his daddy’s handsome face.  We repeated this little ghost exchange for a while until something more important caught my daughter’s eye, most likely a dinosaur or her new imaginary friends, the monster trucks.  She saw a cartoon once at my in-laws during the storm with little monster trucks and has played with them ever since.  (For more on her imaginary friends see Imaginary Friends)

We sort of left it up to our daughter to decide for her what she would be for Halloween this year.  She seems to have grasped the costume concept wholly and enthusiastically.  Originally she was going to be a horse, but we swayed her away from that because we didn’t come up with a good costume that wouldn’t be too cumbersome for a young child and I didn’t want to have to walk behind her all night with a pooper-scooper because she really gets into her role-playing.  It definitely would have been cute to see her trotting around saying giddy up, though… she attributes that to the horse, not the rider and we haven’t been able to get her to budge on that.  The horse idea left the stable without incident when she decided on a new costume, a dragon.  My wife’s eyes lit up because she knew that was doable and we enjoy watching her blowing fire out of her mouth.  She’s pretended to do this on many occasions when she’s been a dragon sans costume.  Maybe for Halloween I can teach her the butane lighter trick of blowing real fire out of her mouth.  That would impress the neighbors.  Then again, maybe it’s not a good idea.

Our son didn’t have the same freedom of costume choice as his sister.  Birth order has its privileges.  I should know because I’m the youngest of five.  Every costume I ever wore was worn by at least two of my older siblings before me.  Don’t get me wrong, they were great costumes and we won many prizes with them but one of my siblings happens to be a girl.  Yes, my mother had me wear her costumes, too.  Two of them stick out in my mind, a black cat and an Indian squaw with papoose.  I did enjoy the black tights, but that’s not important right now.  My son is also wearing a costume previously worn by his big sister, but his is gender neutral.  It’s a bumblebee.  He didn’t seem to mind it when we put it on him so hopefully he’ll make it through the night with his stinger still in place.

My daughter’s originality showed when she picked up her ghost veil again and wrapped it around her hand.  I thought maybe she was just cold because I forgot to turn the furnace up, but she had something else in mind.  She stood up and started running around saying boo.

“Are you a ghost?” I asked.

“No, daddy, this is a ghost puppet.”

I was floored.  She’s been very creative for quite a while now, but this one surprised me.  It’s probably not that amazing to someone who isn’t biased, but I’m impressed.  I laughed so much watching her cruise around in circles with her hand in the air.

“Boo, booo, boooo.”

She booed so often that I thought the Buffalo Bills game was on TV again.     


October 31, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | 2 Comments

Triangle Faces

I knew I was in trouble when my son whined alongside his highchair as soon as I started to prepare breakfast.  He was an emotional roller coaster during the whole food intake session.  He was happy to be eating, but upset because he was tired.  This combination guided him back and forth from jubilation to despair and everywhere in between.  It was a good thing that my daughter was her usual perky self at the table to help keep me sane.

In his defense, he stirred very early this morning.  His monitor dutifully broadcasted his best dieing bird imitation for the forty-five minutes he rolled around in his crib.  Before you judge us as neglectful parents, you should know that we have a video monitor and could see that he lay down in one direction or another throughout this ordeal.  I hoped to catch a few more Zee’s before getting him, but he wouldn’t shut the %#^& up.  Did I mention that I’m a little tired and cranky, too?

I strapped him into his highchair prematurely because of his childish behavior and had to resort to Cheerio bribing until the oatmeal cooled off.  My daughter saw the box of Cheerios and dutifully and eagerly sat in her designated food consumption area.  The Cheerio placation ended about five minutes later when the oatmeal would no longer melt the skin off the roofs of their mouths.  The total number of Cheerios intake was too high to count, but well worth the effort of getting the box down from the shelf.

He was fine at first with the oatmeal, but did insist on feeding himself.  His dexterity with his spoon leaves something to be desired but will come with time… we hope.  He occasionally lets me guide his spoon into a mound of the oatmeal and he does the rest.  Once in a while the amount makes it to his mouth.  Other times were not so lucky.  If I upset him in the middle of this process the food can end up anywhere and he screams for about thirty seconds.  I try to ignore him during these cherished moments, but it’s hard not to notice a red-faced eighteen-month-old shouting what just might be baby talk obscenities at me.  My daughter takes this all in stride and enthusiastically eats all of her oatmeal.

When my son stopped screaming and went back to the task at hand he decided the spoon wasn’t necessary and that the oatmeal would be eaten with his hands.  After two dips and licks I put the spoon back in his hand without incident.  He must have wanted to amuse me because he then dipped his other hand in the oatmeal and smiled.  My daughter and I thought it was funny, but I had one of those parenting moments where I questioned myself.  Should I let him make a mess and be happy or try to teach him the correct way to eat oatmeal?  In these situations I err to common sense.  To put it in other terms I use the philosophy, what would Britney Spears do?  So I let him eat with his hands.  The biggest problem with this was that he was very tired and tired little kids rub their eyes.  Yes, he rubbed oatmeal in his eyes more than once.  I tried to keep up with the hand wiping, but it was difficult because he’s quick. 

When his oatmeal was gone, not necessarily eaten, I chopped up a banana for the three of us.  I knew that a banana would wake him up a little because he loves most fruits to the point where he’s upset when their gone.  This is when the emotions shot to the place that I like best, happy land.  The three of us laughed at silly things so hard that I almost cried.  My daughter commented on this in a unique way.

“Daddy, you have triangle faces,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.  It takes me a while to catch on.

She pointed to my mouth and repeated the triangle face statement.  Now I got it, we were smiling.  I told her that she had a triangle face, too and she smiled even more.  Next, she made a pig snort sound and the boy imitated her, which made us all laugh even harder.

Our breakfast table was a place of many emotions today and I wouldn’t trade it for the world because those kids come up with so many things that I couldn’t ever dream of.  Ask me if I would trade it for the world during one of the boy’s tantrums and I might have a different opinion on the matter. 

October 27, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | Leave a comment

Kids’ Best Friend

There’s a special relationship going on in our house right under our noses.  Our kids are in love… with our dog… and vice versa, whether he’ll admit it or not.

I can tell when our son wants to “play” with our dog.  He gets that certain look in his eyes.  It’s unique to this situation.  It doesn’t matter where the dog is, he’ll hone in on him and own him for the next little while. 

Today was one of those days.  As soon as we stepped in the door the boy was with the other boy.  He didn’t seem to care that his sister was in the kitchen munching on candy corn, he just wanted to play with his doggy.  I checked in on the two boys in between the candy corn give aways to make sure that our son wasn’t injuring the K-9 and I was pleasantly surprised at what they were doing.  Our son had a little towel over the dog’s face and played a sort of peek-a-boo with him.  The dog must have enjoyed it otherwise he would have excused himself like he does if one of the kids gets too rough.  They kept at it for about fifteen minutes before the eighteen-month-old wanted to see a big truck out the front door window.

My daughter’s favorite game to play with the dog, besides dress-up (yes, he’s been a princess a few times), is chase the doggy treat.  She runs the circular pattern around the kitchen to the living room and back and he chases her.  It usually ends when one of us instructs her to relinquish the treat.  It’s fun and exercise rolled up in one.  I try this one once in a while forgetting how exhausted and humiliated I get.  The exhaustion comes from being out of shape and the humiliation comes from not being able to catch my three-year-old daughter and get the treat. 

Occasionally our dog acts aloof towards the kids but he doesn’t fool me for a second.  I see him creep next to them any chance he gets and lays down as close as possible to them.  He’s the most docile animal you can imagine, but I know that he would defend them with his life… unless the attacker has doggy treats.

October 26, 2006 Posted by | Dogs, kids, parenthood | 2 Comments

Broken Like Trees

I’m not sure if the recent events in Western New York have had any effect on my daughter.

“Daddy, my crayons are broken like trees,” my daughter said.

“I see that,” I said.  “It looks like a lot of broken trees.”

“Let me shake them up and watch them fall,” she said. 

Every tree on our property has broken limbs hanging from them or are stripped down to the wood where the branches used to be. 

“Daddy, does the radio have power?”

“Yes, it does, Little One.”

“Daddy, does the TV have power?”

“Yes, it does, Little One.”

We were without power for almost five days.  Luckily the grandparents on both sides could take the family in during this little inconvenience.

These minor changes in our daughter’s way of thinking are definitely manageable.  I couldn’t imagine what children absorb when they go through a serious hardship. 

We’re lucky because we were able to maintain a positive attitude, especially in front of the kids, and actually had a lot of fun during the surprise storm of October 12th and 13th and its aftermath.  We just did what we had to do and it kept us sane… in front of the kids.   

October 22, 2006 Posted by | blizzard, kids, parenthood, Power Outage | Leave a comment

No More Power… for a long while (part two)

We formulated a game-plan as we pulled into our dark driveway.  We’d bring our now sleeping son up to his crib and reward our exhausted daughter with dessert by candlelight.

As my wife took care of our little girl I checked the water level in the sump pump hole.  It was on the verge of overflowing.  This meant I needed to connect to some sort of power soon or start sucking.  I decided to go the power route because our neighbor with a built in natural gas generator gave me the green light to plug in anytime we’re sent back to the dark ages.

I donned some snow gear, grabbed a flashlight, gathered two outdoor extension cords and went to work on correcting our power deficiency.  By this time the snow was ankle high and wet and my underwear started to creep a little too much due to the snow pants over my jeans.  I trudged two doors down and plugged in the big cord while trees snapped all around me.  It sounded like sniper fire, I think. 

My neighbor’s wife, who happens to be my neighbor also, advised me that it was okay to sponge off of their power source.  There’s no way she could have predicted how long our houses would be unified in electricity or she might have told me to plug the cord in somewhere else, like my ass.  She and her husband are in their seventies so they should just say #$&^ the world, but lucky for us they’re generous people.  I told her that if the situation was reversed I’d do the same thing for them and she believed me so I hurried back to my tangle of extension cords.

I tied the big cord to my next-door neighbor’s deck and headed towards my house with the other cord.  It was too short.  That’s when I remembered that the long one was in front of the house plugged into our classy inflatable pumpkin-witch that the kids love so much.  Untangling that one was rather difficult because it ran along side the front of the house across the porch and through the flower garden which were all covered in a blanket of snow.  The house and porch part were easy but the garden proved to be quite a challenge.  Finally the cord popped out after an enormous tug and it even disconnected itself from the glorious pumpkin-witch to my pleasant surprise.  I hoped that it didn’t damage this piece of lawn art that has grown on me, but I didn’t check because time wasn’t on my side.  The more time I took the more water flowed into my basement and the longer I had to experience the irritating wedgie in my pants.

The new cord made it to the inside of the house so now we were in business.  It took two more cords to reach the sump pump.  When my wife inserted the plug into the power strip  our potential flood disappeared down the drain.  I let her plug it in to make her feel like she was helping, too.  Er, I mean, uh, I couldn’t have done it without her.  In actuality this is true.  She took care of the wee little ones while I played outside.  Actually one of them was asleep, so she took care of the somewhat wee little one.

Our daughter got to experience the awesomeness of the storm while my wife and she watched a tree limb crack and crash to the ground out the window.

“Daddy, the maple tree broke in the yard.”

“I saw that, little one.”  I can be very supportive when necessary.

The two of them also got to witness something that I never saw before while they looked out the window, blue lightning.  The snow turned an amazing blue during the lightning strikes.  I was in awe, but I was also a little worried because I witnessed it while I was outside in the snow dodging tree limbs and holding a wet electrical cord .  Did I mention a thunderstorm was going on during the cord to generator fiasco?  The whole thing was surreal.  Imagine the dark sky glowing blue and reflecting off of the snow everywhere you can see and loud thunder echoing all around you while being covered with heavy wet snow all in mid-October.  Like I said, it was surreal.

In the house we also plugged in the fridge, a light and a radio.  We didn’t want to take advantage of our neighbors’ generosity… yet.

Our daughter went to bed without incident even though the cracking sound became more frequent.  She’s probably used to falling asleep to a lot of noise because her bedroom is right next to ours.  Get your head out of the gutter, I like to pace around the room and we have a rather squeaky floor.

We listened to the radio for a little while and it sounded pretty bad.  So I tuned it in correctly and the guy on the air said that a lot of people were without power and that meant it might be out for a long time.  At this point 24 hours seemed like a long time.  That seems funny to me right now.

I decided to head outside and see if anyone needed any help, and to check out the amazing carnage that unfolded itself by the minute.  The neighbor guys were out there, too.  We huddled up in the middle of the snow-covered street to see if anyone needed anything… like a hug.  Nothing was needed at the moment except electricity.  I noticed groups like ours up and down the street.  Most were men, with a couple of exceptions, because the women were smart enough to stay in the house during a natural disaster.  We cleared a couple of big limbs from the street and a driveway or two while always ready to run if we heard a nearby “snap”.  No one got hurt and my neighbors went back in their houses. 

I noticed a guy down the street trying to move a huge piece of tree from the road so I went down to give him a hand.  He’s someone I didn’t know, but through our conversation I could tell that he was deaf by the way he spoke.  The impressive thing was that he understood what I said even though it was really dark out there, since the lightning had stopped by now.  We somehow managed to move the enormous obstacle from the road and parted ways.  I figured I better get back in the house before my wife thinks I took a direct hit and I headed back home.     

She was glad to see me alive, I think and we decided to go to bed so my wife and I made sure all the candles were blown out and that the doors were locked in case any looters tried to break in and steal some salami or bananas or whatever a snowstorm looter steals.  That’s when it dawned on me that we were almost out of milk and both cars were low on gas.  I took one last look outside in the yard before I crawled into bed.  I hoped, but doubted, that the pool and especially our kid’s playhouse would still be standing in the morning.  I wanted to sleep through the night because tomorrow was going to be a very busy day.  Fat chance.

October 22, 2006 Posted by | All about me, blizzard, Buffalo, parenthood, Power Outage | 1 Comment

No More Power… for a long while (part one)

At work we thought the snow coming down was an amusing anomaly especially since it was 70 degrees a few days earlier and it’s only October.  That’s very early for snow, even in Buffalo.  It never occurred to me that this was the beginning of an unforgettable event in my life.

The ride home from work on October twelfth was kind of messy but manageable.  I listened to a book on CD and took my time while I watched the landscape being painted bright white.  I’m one of the oddballs that like to drive in snow.  I get an adrenaline rush when the tires disobey a direct order and the vehicle slides in the opposite direction I intended it to go.  As long as everyone gets out unscathed I thrive on those moments.  I happily pulled in my driveway about 30 minutes later than usual.  I found out the next day that I was one of the lucky ones because many people were stranded on the thruway for ten, twelve or fourteen hours that night.

The first indication that things could get dicey was the huge branch that blocked my next-door neighbor’s driveway.  Sometimes it takes me a while to catch on to the severity of a situation so I just pulled the monstrous tree limb to the side with my Herculean strength.  I just thought to myself that a big piece of a big tree fell.  What’s the big deal?  No harm, no foul.

I had one task on my mind while I walked in the house; I wanted a hug from my daughter because she just got back from the hospital (see Tough Girl).  She ran to me and squeezed me even tighter than I squeezed her.  She was okay and that made me okay.  My wife and I already decided that we’re going to get winter coats for the kids this night because everyone will get them real soon because of the early snowfall.  We had no idea that most people and stores weren’t going to have power for quite a while because none of this was predicted by any of the local weather forecasters.  If they did think it might happen they kept it to themselves.  I wish I had a job with that big of an allowable margin of error.

The ride to the store got a little crazy when we hit the section of Williamsville that was already without power.  I started to think to myself how absurd this was for us to put ourselves in the middle of the storm, but we continued on with the hope that the store still had its electricity working.  It did and we immediately found winter gear for the kiddies.  It was easy because we practically had the store to ourselves.  The only customers in the store besides us were one other family until a stunned woman wandered in and grabbed my arm.

“I need to know where I am,” she said. 

The fear in her eyes showed that she comprehended the ferocity of the storm much sooner than my wife and me or that she’s just a wimp.

The clerk hurried her out of the store and we got back to the business at hand; buying winter wear and little big girl underpants (she picked them out herself).  We headed home with a satisfied feeling and no idea what challenges we were about to face.

The gas tank was kind of low but I drove right past a few gas stations because the boy started to fuss… a lot.  It was past his bedtime and he knew that I couldn’t reach him from the driver’s seat (ha, ha!).  We also needed milk for the house but decided to buy it closer to home.  When we got to the store near our house we could barely see it because of the snow and the lack of lighting.  By now the power was off in our area, too.

It looked like broken branches were everywhere when we pulled into our development.  Little did we know that this was only the beginning. 

October 19, 2006 Posted by | All about me, blizzard, Buffalo, parenthood, Power Outage | 2 Comments

Tough Girl

I just received the news that my little girl got hurt today.  Thankfully it’s nothing too serious.  She tripped and fell and her tooth went through her lip.  From what I’ve been told it sounds worse than it is.  That’s easy for anyone but her to say, but I believe it because I had the privilege of speaking to my little angel on the phone before my wife arrived to take her to get checked out.

“Daddy, I hurt my lip,” she said.  “I’m going to the hopistal with Mommy.”

She has a good vocabulary but fortunately she hasn’t had to know the word hospital until now.  She sounded cheerful on the phone and acted like her usual amusing self during our brief conversation.

The trip to the hospital is precautionary because from the description I received from my M-I-L and my wife is that the cut is very small but all the way through.  I knew that my daughter could handle some pain from watching her skin her knee and not shed a tear.  She usually pulls herself up, brushes herself off, and keeps on running.  Sorry for the momentary parental bragging.  I guess she cried a little this time, but who wouldn’t when something penetrates your lip area and comes out the other side.

Right now I’m waiting on word from my wife from the hospital.  So far the doctor told her that stitches probably aren’t necessary and that they want to check out her tooth.  I feel guilty because I’m not with them because I’m still at work.  Hopefully they won’t have to sit around there much longer and I can spoil my daughter rotten with a new dinosaur or animal and spoil my wife with… you get the idea.

My wife and I have been parents for a little more than three years now and this is the first hospital visit.  Not bad for a couple of amateurs.  Maybe we should go pro… whatever that means. 

October 12, 2006 Posted by | kids, parenthood | 4 Comments

Leaves a Fallin’

Nature creates a lot of busy work this time of year.  It is mostly raking leaves and battening down the hatches for the oncoming winter.  There are quite a few trees on and around our property and they sadistically stagger the release times for their leaves.  Which in turn spreads the raking season out over a long period of time.  This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for some external factors: my children.  For some reason they love to play in the piles of leaves.

The act of raking can be a peaceful and enjoyable activity… up to a point.  After three good piles I’ve had enough.  I often do this chore while the kids are napping and take them outside a little while later.  Even though there are numerous things to do in our yard they are magnetically pulled to the piles of leaves.  The joy on their faces when they take that first leap into the rotting tree droppings is priceless.  So is the first scream of pain when they get stabbed in the side with a broken stick that I carelessly raked into the pile.

My daughter likes to cover her and her brother in as many leaves as possible, which means that a mandatory bath must be given that evening.  So much for watching Jeopardy that night.  Our son is new to the leaves game, but he jumped right in, literally.  He loves running them through his fingers and occasionally tasting the different flavors such as maple, ash, oak, dirt and worm.  Each one seems to please him because he repeats the process quite often.

Don’t get me wrong here, I enjoy watching my children having fun, but the piles start spreading out the longer they play in them and before I know it all my hard work is destroyed.  Maybe I should designate one pile as the play pile and the rest off limits.  Yeah, that will work.  Try telling an eighteen month old that he can’t jump in that pile even though it’s just like this pile.  He’s usually reasonable, but that’s asking for much.  Oh yeah, he’s hardly ever reasonable and is free spirited.  That’s the politically correct term for a wild man who likes to get into everything.

I guess it’s my fault for taking the kids outside when they should be in the house playing video games or watching Robots, again.

October 11, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | 6 Comments

Shh, It’s a Library

I’m getting braver everyday when it comes to going places with the kids.  This time it was the library, which is perfect for my daughter because books are her second favorite toys… after animals, of course.

We’ve been to two libraries quite a few times, the big library and the small library.  My daughter was ecstatic when I told her it would be the big one.  It has a great children’s section with the tiny tables and chairs and a rocking horse.  I learned my lesson the last time that the rocking horse is for the children only.  I guess some librarians don’t have a sense of humor.

As my daughter shopped through the easily accessible children’s books I wheeled my son to the little table and dropped a couple of books in front of him for him to eat, er, I mean read.  I’m so proud because he actually holds the books upright now and points to the pictures and makes usually inaudible sounds.  More books poured onto the table when our elder reader joined us.  There must have been a dozen titles lying there ready to be emblazoned into the heads of my impressionable offspring.

My angel sat there going through the books meticulously from front to back.  Asking me questions like, “What’s his name?” or “What’s that?” or “Are you sleeping, daddy?”  When I felt that the kids were ready we gathered up a few books to take home and put the rest back where they belonged or fit. 

Before you give me kudos for bringing the wee ones to as enlightening a place as the library you should know that it’s just as much for me.  I needed to pick up some books on CD for myself, such as A Beautiful Mind or Flags of Our Fathers.  A parent needs to vedge (sp?) out once in a while.

I thought the kids would wait patiently while I perused the audio section.  Who the hell was I kidding, beside myself, the little bastards couldn’t care less about their numerous “new” books spread around them.  It seems like my daughter knows how to turn up the volume at these moments and likes to roll around as much as possible when I prefer she not make a scene.  There are much more audio books to choose from at the big library, but I had to pick quickly because the boy started to mimic his older sister and I couldn’t take the excessive displays of childishness coming from the children.  I would have told them to act their age, but they were already.  Needless to say I just grabbed a couple of discs and headed off to the checkout.

The kids behaved very well while being checked out.  My daughter said thank you and my son flirted with the elderly woman.  At his age it’s endearing, at mine it’s pathetic.

My daughter’s excitement grew as we headed for the van so much so that she barely stopped to point out every leaf on the ground because she couldn’t wait to read her dinosaur book.  For some reason it wasn’t as important when I was trying to pick out something for me.  I loaded them up and buckled myself in for the short ride home that would be filled with smiles and giggles. 

Finally, I could get to see what I picked up in the hurried tantrum filled moments inside.  Next time I should look before I grab because my “new” books on cd were as follows: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda and Entertaining by Martha Stewart.  When I’m finished with these two I should be a sensitively tuned man that knows how to make a doily out of a candy bar wrapper.   

October 10, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | Leave a comment

Diamonds of Many Colors

My daughter just gave me thirteen diamonds, make that fourteen.  She gave me one more as I started typing.  The laptop is now precariously hanging off the coffee table because I had to move it down with the addition of each new block. 

They’re many different colors even though in reality all of them are oak colored (?) wooden blocks.  She started with Blue, her favorite color, of course.  At the time I didn’t know that she was going back into the diamond mine -her words- to get them and that we’d be at this for quite some time.  It was fun to watch her decide what color the diamonds were. Orange came next, and was followed by Yellow.  She has such a vivid imagination that pleasantly surprises me quite often.  I think she gets this from her mother because she must live in a dreamworld being married to me.The next color wasn’t one I expected this soon, Brown.  I don’t know too many women that want a diamond this color, but maybe she’s ahead of her time .   

Black and White showed up in a row with Gray right behind them.  She must know that they’re connected in life or she just winged it.   Red and Green finally were invited to the party, but were rewarded with being the only two that make repeat appearances.  They’re the last two diamonds added when no more colors could be thought of. 

Purple shot out of her mouth with authority.  She was happy that there was an obvious color left because the choices were becoming scarce.  This is when I noticed how she used tools to come up with her choices besides just thinking of them.  She looked at everything around her, including books and toys, to think of colors.  I’m impressed, but disappointed that I didn’t notice this earlier because it was awesome to watch. 

The next choice would ‘ve been a lot sooner for a lot of girls, but not our daughter, it’s just another color to her, Pink.  The last original one she came up with caught me off guard, Golden.  This isn’t a regular color so it was cool to hear her spit it out.

After that she couldn’t come up with any more colors, but chose to give me one more Red and one more Green.  These so called diamonds may not be worth their genuine cousins, but to me they mean the world.  Well they did until she swept them off of the table into a bucket.

October 8, 2006 Posted by | kids, parenthood | Leave a comment

Downgraded Dad

If parents were given a report card for their parenting skills I would have given myself a B+ until two days ago.  I know that’s a little cocky, but I was brought down to earth again when I almost broke my son.  My new grade is a D-.  The only reason it’s not an F is that he’s still breathing.

We’ve had a few trying moments with the boy the past few days ( see 3AM Wake Up Call for one of them).  He’s gotten in the habit of making a mess with his bodily fluids.  He erupted vomit the evening after the wake up call as I was getting him ready for bed.  It covered him, me, the changing table and his carpet.  The topper was that he just ate chocolate pie and feta cheese, not together because a pregnant woman wouldn’t even combine those two things.  He repeated the puking scenario the next night around the same time.  I reacted fast enough to guide most of the chunky expulsion onto the linoleum floor.  See, I was a good dad. 

The next night he pooped through his onesy right before dinner.  It wasn’t as bad as the middle of the night one so it was no big deal… right.  We double-teamed him for the stripping and changing but my wife had to go downstairs to help our daughter with dinner so I took care of the dressing and cleanup.  The diaper was loaded past maximum capacity so I got a little on my hand.  This minor detail and the messy diaper almost changed our lives forever.  Fortunately, I was the only one traumatized from what happened.  I let our mess maker walk to the stairs while I carried the diaper in my soiled hand.  This was a big mistake.  I told him to wait for me at the top of the stairs as I stepped into the bathroom to throw the diaper out and wash my hands.  He grunted and stood there.  I turned my head for a second to grab the garbage bag and when I looked back he was gone.  Moments like this seem like an eternity even though it was a split second.  My heart dropped and I screamed like a little girl… twice.  Then I headed down the stairs after my tumbling future ward of the court.  I watched him bounce twice before he hit the landing.  I think he tucked and rolled like a stunt man and he looked like he enjoyed it.  We’ll never know because my screaming made him cry.  There wasn’t a mark on him and he stopped crying in less than thirty seconds.  I knew he was okay because he called me a pussy.  At least that was the look he gave me.

After I washed the fecal matter off of my shaking hand I sat down to eat with my family and I felt shame.  I failed to protect my son.  I wallowed in this a little too long and my wife made a joke to lighten the mood.  I didn’t respond very well to it.  So much so that she didn’t talk to me again during dinner until I asked her to.  At that point I knew how ridiculous I acted and I apologized.  She laughed and we went on with dinner.

I was naive in thinking that my son would wait for me by the stairs, so I’ll have to chalk this one up as a lesson learned… I hope.   

October 5, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | 3 Comments

Imaginary Friends

Imaginary friends are a great part of childhood for a lot of kids.  I didn’t have one, but that was by choice, theirs.  My daughter’s lucky, she’s on her second one already.  These kids today are spoiled.  One is never enough.

The first one and I got along great.  It was a mouse that she called “Baby Mouse”, which sounded appropriate to me.  I thought that it was cute that she talked to it in a high squeaky voice and then I remembered that was her actual voice.  It would crawl from her hand onto my shoulder and then I would put it on the shelf to sleep.  It never strayed too far and hardly ever made a mess.  Those were the good old days.

The new one that I met the other day is a butterfly named “Butterfly”.  How original is that?  I don’t know what she expects me to do with a butterfly besides pretending to look at it.  The mouse was easy because we could tickle it and let it crawl all over us and we’d giggle.  I tried tickling the butterfly and I accidentally broke a piece of its imaginary wing off.  It’s just a little piece so it’s probably the equivalent of a baby toe.  You can live without it for the most part.  You just look a little funny lying out at the beach.  But what kind of weirdo stares at your toes anyway.  Hopefully she won’t notice “Butterfly’s” imaginary imperfection or at least not know that her wonderful daddy was responsible for it.

It’s fitting that our little girl’s imaginary friends aren’t people since, as most of you know, she’s usually some sort of animal herself.  She’s even been a butterfly before.  Luckily I think she’s smart enough to pretend to fly and not actually attempt it.  I’m a little worried about her brother when he starts copying her because there won’t be any pretending.  He’ll probably head for the roof.

October 3, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | 3 Comments