Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

“Sleep” No More

Our little girl has reached yet another milestone, she finally ceased sleeping with a pacifier.  This one was a little later than it should have been, but that’s our fault because we felt that it made our lives a little easier since she’s such a good sleeper while using it. 

Her trip to the dentist was a wake up call.  Both, the dental hygienist and the dentist knew that she either slept with a pacifier or sucked her thumb just from looking at her overbite.  They said if we stop it now everything will be fine.  That was enough for us my wife to act immediately.  She took the bull by the horns even though I wasn’t there the first night and it worked.  This was no small task for my little girl because it’s all she’s known since she was an infant and she loved that little rubber thing more than ice cream and her animals combined, except her real doggy (I think).  She associated it so much with sleeping that she named it “sleep”.  If you want to know what it must be like to stop doing something that you’ve been doing for most of your life try sleeping without a pillow… forever.

The little trooper hasn’t complained at all, but is a little sad which is understandable because I can’t imagine what I’d do if someone took my security blanket away.  I’m kidding, I don’t need my GI JOE with KUNG FU GRIP; I just like it.

I’m very proud of both of the double X chromosome carriers in my home.  My wife chose to do this on a night that I was working even though she had to get up very early the next morning and my daughter decided that she could handle this trying situation without a single tear or complaint.  I guess my boy and I should feel privileged to share a roof with two strong women that aren’t afraid of challenges.  Which I’m not afraid of either, as long as I’m not inconvenienced or made to feel uncomfortable.

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February 28, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 4 Comments

Gone, But Not Forgotten

We’ve suffered a loss in our family today.  I know that it’s part of life, but it kills me to see my kids go through this whole process.  Luckily my son hasn’t noticed yet and if we’re fortunate he never will.  My daughter has noticed, in fact, she’s the one that brought it to my attention.  I’m very proud of her because she didn’t shed any tears.  Her words were matter of fact and she moved on to another subject.

“It’s gone forever.  I’m hungry, Daddy.”

Most adults don’t let go this easy.

It all happened at the supermarket.  The kids each brought in two toys to play with in the car cart.  He had two cars, of course, and she had a rubber ducky and a magnifying glass.  We did our usual rounds: witty banter at the deli counter; squeezing sessions in the fruit section; and naming the lobsters in the tank.  My favorites were Dinner and Delicious, my daughter liked Tasty the best, and my son couldn’t care less what their names were, he just wanted to pet them.

The realization of our loss hit my daughter when I stopped in the coffee aisle to decide if my wife would like Mocha Cafe Coconut, Brazilian Tangerine Morning Sunshine or French Vanilla.  We went with the French Vanilla.  This is when my daughter asked me to find the magnifying glass.

I checked out the car section of the cart where the kiddies parked their cabooses and was unsuccessful in finding the missing object.  I then proceeded to remove the children from the cart to search better on my hands and knees in the middle of the aisle.  Fortunately for the other shoppers I had worn a longer coat so they were spared the old plumber’s crack that I could feel going on by the breeze finding it’s way into my jeans.  It was nowhere to be found.  This might sound familiar to some of you because I wrote about a similar situation a while ago, which I called, Has Anyone Seen my Hippo?.

I informed my daughter that we’d retrace our steps and see if we can find it and she thought that was an excellent idea.  She might’ve used the word good.  We had no luck during the backtracking or at the information desk.  The kid tried to be helpful but he couldn’t make my little girl whole again.  This is when I decided to break it to her that it was probably gone for good.

“I’m sorry chicken, the magnifying glass is gone,” I said.  She became a chicken while we shopped when she no longer wanted to be a big blue bird.

“It’s gone forever.  I’m hungry, Daddy.”

It was over like that.  There were no signs of sadness or anxiety while she ate her jelly and Jif peanut butter sandwich.  Hopefully she won’t have flashbacks or a relapse from keeping her sorrow so deep inside.

February 20, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 4 Comments

Where Are Those Wet Wipes?

Our little girl is coming along pretty well with her bathroom issues, which is good, because the less I’m involved the better.  The only problem we’re having right now is getting her to want to go.  Accidents are at a minimum, but half the time we have to notice her squeezing her legs shut or walking kind of funny to know that she needs to go.

The fun begins once she’s on the potty, you know, toilet.  She goes number one every time but she absolutely does not want to poop, aka crap.  No matter what we tell her she insists that she does not have to go.  When I say insists, I mean she screams and whines and tells us “no, no, no!”  This reminds me a little of the discussion my wife and I have when it’s time for me to get out of bed in the morning and when it’s time for her to get into bed at night.

We’ve learned that time is all she needs to get the job done.  My wife came up with a brilliant solution; we can stall her with the notion that we’ll be back in a minute with the wet wipes to help her clean up.  Little does she know that we have no intention of going back in the bathroom until she stinks it up.

The other night this strategy backfired on us.  The usual took place: the argument; the reluctant sitting; and the “I’m getting the wet wipes” lie.  About two minutes after the retrieving proclamation I heard a tiny self assured voice emanate from the way too purple downstairs bathroom.

“The wet wipes are in here.  Hey guys, the wet wipes are in here.”

I stopped in my tracks and shook my head in disbelief.  I wasn’t sure what to say to my little angel to keep her glued to the porcelain waste receptacle this time because we didn’t have a back-up plan and my thinking on my feet skills aren’t what they used to be.  So instead of saying anything, I waited a minute or two and I got lucky; she finished her task successfully.  So I guess even when a job isn’t well done it can still be done well if the right people are involved.  I’m speaking of the two lovely ladies that I share a home with, of course.  

February 18, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | Leave a comment

Welcome to the (late) 90’s

I finally have an MP3 player.  I received it as a gift yesterday and now I have to figure out how to load it up with some cool tunes by groups like U2 and The Carpenters

This might sound like an easy task to most of you, but I’m a “neophyte” when it comes to electronics.  I’m not kidding; I finally learned how to program a VCR the day before they became obsolete.  Does anyone want to buy some used VHS tapes?  How about the final episode of Seinfeld that I taped in 1998 by hitting the record button?  I’m kidding about that last one, because it would be illegal to peddle someone else’s material.

I’ve been notoriously incapable where electronics have been concerned.  I had to sketch a diagram of our first desktop set up to make sure I could hook things back up when we moved five years ago.  I drew every cable and every portal in each of the devices whether they were being used and it still took me days to piece it back together.  That was partly due to me laying on the couch everyday watching Jerry Springer or Oprah on my days off (this was pre-children).  Now I’m lucky if I can watch SportsCenter long enough to catch one nickname like Jeff “Don’t Beat Up the Grocery Store Clerk Just Because He Can’t” Bagwell because Backyardigans or Sesame Street is on or Cars is in the DVD player that I only know how to use.  I couldn’t hook it up if my life depended on it.  Well, maybe if my life depended on it.  That could be a good game/reality show, just not with me as a contestant.

Don’t blame me completely for my lack of electronics savvy because I was born with the luddite gene.  The scariest thing about this is that I’m the one that attempts to teach my parents how to use modern devices.  They went kicking and screaming into the remote control world back in the late eighties.  Back then I was the remote control for my father no matter where I was in the house.  When I finally moved out they had no choice but to accept it and learn.  I’m not blaming my lineage for my incapability; I’m just using them as an excuse.

I’m going to try and hold off on asking for help with this MP3 player thing for as long as possible.  Maybe if I read the instructional manual I’ll actually be able to figure this one out.  But I probably won’t because that would be like cheating and it’s so freaking boring.  I guess if it comes down to it, I’ll eventually have to ask either my wife, my F.I.L. or my B.I.L. (Uncle Scientist) to help me with this one like most of the things in my house that need tending to that involve electricity.

February 16, 2007 Posted by | All about me, electronics, Humor, MP3 players, Ranting | Leave a comment

Green Mints

Pretend cooking has been a past time for my daughter since she was in diapers.  Oh yeah, she’s still in diapers… only when she sleeps… it saves us from having to wash the sheets daily.  Her latest is baking pies on a metallic coaster.  They’re invisible, but quite tasty.  She usually lets me choose the flavor.  I chose the apple one today even though the car one sounded good, too.  The boy joined in on the fake eating and the smile on his face told me I chose wisely.

Whatever she’s “making” has to go through the preparing process.  For the longest time I couldn’t understand why everything needed green mints.  It just didn’t sound right, especially since her favorite color is blue.  I went along with it because who knows why kids do what they do until I had an “epiphany”; green mints was ingredients. 

“Everything needs ingredients.” 

I just didn’t understand what she was saying.  This is surprising because in my biased opinion she usually speaks very clearly.  I’m glad I figured this out because the pretend pies, sandwiches and coffee taste much better now without the green mints and they probably have less calories. 

February 15, 2007 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood, parenting | 3 Comments

Bear Cubs

Did you ever sit back and watch a couple of bear cubs rolling around on the ground tossing each other all over the dried leaves and broken sticks appearing as though they didn’t have a care in the world?  I’m doing that exact thing, except they aren’t bear cubs, they’re my kids and they’re landing on toy cars and dog hair instead of leaves and sticks.  I wish I could bottle the joy they get out of this, it would be more popular than crack, because the only downside is the exhaustion that eventually takes over and if you want more you don’t have to perform lewd acts or sell your parents’ iPod to get it because it just comes naturally.

They’ve been tackling each other on the kitchen floor for the past fifteen minutes taking the occasional break for me to kiss their latest boo-boo.  Sometimes I can just blow them a kiss from across the room to keep the interruption to a minimum.  I think the score is pretty even on who hurt who.  This keeps my job as part-time moderator easier, because I don’t have to discipline one more than the other.  The discipline hasn’t consisted of anything more than “Don’t hit your sister/brother” or “You’re squashing your sister/brother” and the occasional ruler across the knuckles.

I think that I get as much out of this as them, and I finally get to sit down.  It makes me proud to know that my offspring doesn’t mind the occasional eye gouge, head bang, and knee in the back.  It will prepare them for life and possibly for a career in the WWE.  What father hasn’t wished their daughter could be a scantily clad wrestling diva or that their son might wear tiny little skivvies for a living?  Yew (times two)!  Whatever this leads to is irrelevant as long they wear each other out enough to let me stay on my keester a little while longer. 

February 8, 2007 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood, parenting, zoo | Leave a comment

Gearing Up for Winter

I remember the days when I could just put on my coat and boots and head out the door.  It must have taken two minutes, tops.  These days I have to start getting the kids ready the night before if I just think we might go somewhere.  Wearing their boots to bed took a little getting used to for them, but they adjusted.

There are a lot of positives in the winter time (when I think of one I’ll get back to you), getting little kids ready to go outside is not one of them.  I wish that I could just throw a jacket and some sneakers on them and hit the road, but the authorities and my freezing kids might look down on that, so I actually bundle them up with layers and snow gear.  By the time I’m done they’re lucky if they can wiggle a finger let alone take a step.

No matter what we’re doing or where we’re going, my daughter and son always have a toy as small as a matchbox car or as big as a rocking horse in their hands when it’s time to put their coats on.  We could be in the middle of nowhere, naked, and they’d have toys in their hands.  No matter how small it is it never fits through the sleeve so I take it away and set it on the ground close by.  As soon as I try to put the second arm in they bend over to retrieve the object of their needed handal fixation.  This drives me crazy.  So much so, that I want to heave the thing across the room to demonstrate my frustration, but instead I throw the toy.

By the time we’re actually ready to go I’m exhausted and someone’s whining.  I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not always me.  As I put my hand on the door handle one of two things usually happens: my daughter has to go potty; or I catch a whiff of something ungodly in the general direction of my son.  The latter is more common and more work.  I’ve considered ignoring it, but, as I learned the hard way, it doesn’t go away on its own.  In fact, it spreads itself as far as it can, which is absolutely no good for any of the parties involved.

I figured that going through all this misery would pay itself off eventually in character building and patience learning, but unfortunately I’m the same impatient prick that I was before I was a parent, but not with the kids, of course… usually.

February 7, 2007 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood, parenting | Leave a comment

Time to Eat the Donuts

You know what they say about noisy kids, at least you know what they’re up to, it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about.

The boy was the quiet child last night and was up to something.  It’s amazing how little kids seem to know when they can get away with things, I hope they stop this once they get older.

My wife was in the precarious position of being home alone with the kids and our dog last night.  You need to be creative to keep the unattended child occupied while taking care of the other one and that’s exactly what she did last night… and it still didn’t work.  She set the boy up with a racetrack and some other favorite toys of his on the kitchen floor while she helped our daughter on the potty (that means toilet for you non-parents).  He should have been overjoyed and preoccupied with all this cool stuff, I know I would’ve been.  I could watch that toy race car go around the track over and over and over and over.  You get the point.

The donut box on the kitchen countertop must’ve caught his attention… like father, like son.  In a Homer Simpson moment he decided that he must have them because they were there.  Admit it, we’ve all been there, I know that I can barely walk out of the room if I know there are still some donuts left in the box.  He must’ve pulled the box down gently because there wasn’t enough crumbage to indicate otherwise.  He then proceeded to take little rabbit-bites out of each one of the six donuts that remained from breakfast.

This is around the time my wife’s sixth sense kicked in.  You know, the I better see what the Hell the kids are up to sense.  When my wife walked in the boy looked up at her with his patented cheesy grin and said, “Cookie!”  At the sight of this gluttonous display she immediately joined him on the floor and started nibbling on donuts, too, while ignoring our daughter’s plea for help coming from the bathroom.  I’m kidding, our daughter wasn’t asking for help… oh, yeah, my wife didn’t actually join in, but did find it hilarious and decided to look for the camera.  Unfortunately, I’d left it in the diaper bag the day before so this event passed us by without visual documentation to be used as a blackmail tool later in his life. 

I’m sure that it was one of those parental moments when you have to ask yourself if you’re supposed to be upset, but aren’t because it’s so freaking funny.  I know the mommy wasn’t angry because she called me up while still laughing.

The ironic thing about this story is that we’ve never had to worry about leaving food out because our dog will not touch it without permission, but now we’ll have to worry about our second-born son, the human one.  Maybe our dog can take him under his wing paw and teach him to be more respectful of our food.

February 4, 2007 Posted by | Donuts, Humor, kids, parenthood | 2 Comments

Superbowl Woes

I’m a football fan and enjoy the Super Bowl as much as most people, but it brings back bad memories from the early ’90’s.  Yes, I’m a Buffalo Bills fan.  Many of us try to convince ourselves that it was great just getting there four years in a row, but that’s just a rationalization to keep us sane.  I try to block out the bad stuff, like Norwood’s wide left, Thurman’s missing helmet, and me crying in the fetal position in the bathtub, but reminders come out of the woodwork this time of year.  Yesterday, I turned on ESPN just in time to see the football just miss the goal post and witness Bill Parcells being carried across the field with a huge grin on his face.  This rebroadcast brought that feeling of eating three spicy burritos in less than ten minutes back to my stomach.

Since the Bills aren’t there, again, I’m hoping to enjoy the game for what it usually is, an over-exposed spectacle of hopefully funny commercials often interrupted by some poorly played football.  I love that the winners of this usually lopsided contest are declared the world champions even though all the teams play in the U.S.  Do sports leagues in other countries make similar proclamations?  For instance, does the Nigerian Shoeless Sprinting League declare their race winner the world champion shoeless runner?  Or does the Fiji Clam Shucker Association declare the best shucker a world champion?  I really don’t know, but I doubt it.

I think I’m just jaded because my beloved Bills have never been deemed world champions.  The way they played the second half of the season shows me that we still have hope they’ll make it someday.  Unfortunately, it usually only takes a few games in the beginning of the season to say maybe next year.  Go Bills!

My pick for this year is the Kevin Federline commercial, er, I mean, the Colts by more than ten. 

February 2, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Buffalo, football | 2 Comments