Tag Archives: parents

Kid show mutterings

We no longer have cable. Like more people seem to be doing, what TV we watch is from Netflix and Hulu. Now part of the decision was because most of the TV we watch are the kid shows the girls like. As I’ve stated in the past, there are some very good cartoons and such that the kids like. There are some that are irritating but still okay. Then there are those that are so horrible, so cringe-inducing that we do our best to prevent the kids from watching them.

The bombardment of child-focused television causes my brain to enter strange places. Are these thoughts normal for all parents? Is my chemically imbalanced mind alone the place these thoughts dwell? You be the judge.

#1) How does Telly from “Sesame Street” not have ulcers yet?

#2) I think most of the problems on “Curious George” could be resolved by NOT letting the monkey run around unattended.

#3) Also in regards to #2, Curious George is an ape! He is not a monkey!

#4) The merkids on “Bubble Guppies” seem to be the only ones of their kind, surrounded by fish and sea creatures. So are they actually mutant fish or some form of Missing Link?

#5) How does Ramone on “Peg+Cat” have so many jobs? Does he still go to school or did he test out due to a superior IQ?

#6) I find “Wallykazam” much funnier than I probably have any right to as an adult.

#7) Am I the only one who looks at “Doc McStuffins” and sees the potential for a future supervillain?

#8) What do the parents in “The Pajanimals” actually look like? Did the mom naturally give birth to four different animal species or is this a case of adoption?

#9) The puppets and makeup for “LazyTown” are terrifying.

#10) Has anyone involved with the creation of “Caillou” been brought to justice?

These are but a sample of the things I now consider. They pop into my head at unexpected times. The related show doesn’t even need to be on. What have I become?

 

Advertisements

More Dad Haikus

MYSTERIES

There must be answers.

Yet, daughter, I can’t explain

why you won’t eat lunch.

 

BATH

The screams of pure rage.

You thrash as if set aflame.

It’s only shampoo.

 

CAT

The toddler hugs you.

Feline eyes call out to me,

“What fresh hell is this?”

 

SILENCE

The talking has stopped.

Perhaps the kids are asleep.

No. They plot my doom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Vacation: What I learned

We recently got back from a trip to Florida. The purpose was to give my dad a sort of birthday present (he turns 70 this month) of having all 4 of the grandchildren on a trip together. So my wife and I went with the girls and Pam, my sister, went with our niece & nephew. My brother-in-law was unable to make it due to work. The third sibling, my brother, was also not there but he likely didn’t want to go. So we had a total of 5 adults with my parents, sister, Lisa and myself. The 4 kids are between the ages of 3 and 7. So obviously, they had the advantage over the adults.

Did we have fun? Sure, there was fun. The kids seemed to enjoy playing together, though there was a large amount of whining. I’m also sure I speak for many when I say putting extended family together for a long time is not without stress. But this whole thing was a learning experience, so I will now share the knowledge that has been bestowed upon my squishy brain matter.

FLYING WITH KIDS IS A PAIN- We had a 2 hour delay for our flight to Florida. This pretty much killed the excitement of 5-year-old Phoebe, who now panicked that the trip was ruined. By the time we got on the plane and took off, she hadn’t fully recovered. Zoe, the cranky pants toddler, was tired but did not manage to fall asleep until about 20 minutes before landing. However, we also had a yappy dog on the plane that barked the whole time. The flight home was very early and Phoebe spent most of it being difficult. Zoe was pretty good, only fussing once which was cancelled by the presence of apple juice. This was the opposite of what we expected, having thought Phoebe would be excited by the plane and entertained and Zoe would get cranky. So maybe next time, which may very well be in a few years, we’ll just drive.

LET THE GRANDPARENTS TAKE THE KIDS- If my mom or dad wanted to go somewhere with the kids, they pretty much got it. Lisa and I were able to get a few moments of quiet and even got to go out after the kids went to bed. Once just the two of us and once with Pam, who by that point needed the break as well. Plus, we all got to take a nap at least once! How awesome is that? How sad is it that I get excited about naps?

BE BETTER AT PLANNING OUTINGS- Somehow we ended up going to the Naples Zoo on one of the hottest days of the week. Needless to say, everyone was cranky about halfway into the time there. Also, the animals as a whole were smarter than us and mostly laid around in whatever shade was present. Good for you, striped hyena and honey badger. Bad for the tourists, us included. Zoe also clarified that every big cat she saw apparently goes “meow, meow”. I’m sure the 3-year-old has conducted scientific research so pass this on to the tigers and leopards. No roaring for you. It’s “meow, meow” or nothing. So sayeth the toddler.

We’ve taken short little weekend trips with the kids in the past, but this was our first big family trip. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for vacations with Phoebe and Zoe. People keep asking us if we’ll do a Disney trip with them, which I think is possible but certainly not until they are old enough to remember it better. This is the question about the trip we just took. Will they remember much of it? A little, I think, but it will probably be more along the lines of how they had fun with their grandparents and cousins. So I think vacations like trips to Disney World and things like that can wait until Lisa and I don’t have to change diapers at the airport.

 

 

More years to come

My eldest daughter, Phoebe, will turn 5 in less than a week. In July, her sister Zoe will turn 3. I’m of mixed feelings about this whole growing up thing my kids are doing. It’s also really weird to think that it has been about 5 years since I’ve become someone’s parent.

How did that happen? Well, of course I know how it happened. I was there. Also, I’ve been to the zoo.

It’s just bizarre to me. I have these two little girls that call me “daddy” who I love more than I thought possible. There are also days they make me want to dig a hole in the yard and hide for the rest of my life. My wife and I constantly talk about which one is going to give us more trouble in the years ahead. They are both so different, yet both so stubborn! And they are both so cute and they make me laugh and smile. I look at them and get so scared thinking about the horrible shit they may go through. I constantly worry about how the world will treat them because they are girls, and how they will treat them when they are women. When it comes to them, I question almost everything I do for fear that I will screw them up. That being said, I think all parents screw up at some point. So chances are I probably have and will do so again, no matter how hard I try.

Phoebe is a talker and silly. She wants to say hello to everyone and is easily distracted. Zoe is sweet and sensitive. She gets so excited by animals and has a little temper.

My kids are getting older. I am getting older. Nothing is going to stop this and, unless something horrible occurs, I am in for many more years of this stuff. I will be tired and grumpy. I will be heartbroken. I will be proud and amused and terrified. And in the future, I will almost certainly embarrass some teenagers.

Cool.

Sock rebellion

The weather is (happily) becoming cooler. Now, even though I am pleased when it starts to get colder there are some people who wish it would stay warm. I can only assume these people are connected to some infernal bloodline which thrives on fire. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

Of course, I still have to dress differently for the cooler weather which is fine. Long pants, long sleeves, and socks. Preferably Smartwool socks, when I have a clean pair. But I notice that my children seem to differ in opinion, particularly Zoe. She seems to hate socks. We put them on her, but the get pulled off pretty quickly. Phoebe used to do this too, but she seems to have largely stopped. It could have something to do with the fact that she’s old enough to want to have socks with Disney princesses and My Little Ponies on them. But once in a while, she joins her little sister in combined sock rebellion.

Don’t get me wrong, the girls have cute little feet. But I worry that they will become cold little feet. Not that it seems to bug either of them. I’ll touch Zoe’s bare foot and it will be ice-cold. I ask why she keeps taking her socks off. Because she’s two, she pretty much just laughs at me. And the additional frustration comes from the fact that once taken off, the offending socks may disappear. If not collected quickly enough, they can get sucked into some kind of vortex in the multiverse. Or possibly Narnia. I’m not sure because we still have missing socks and the ones that do turn up offer no clues. As you know, socks don’t talk. Not unless you make them into sock puppets, but then they only know what you know which often isn’t much.

I don’t get it. Is this something that all little kids do? I don’t remember doing this. Neither of my parents ever told me that I did. Is this a new thing? Did some kind of psychic memo start to circulate between toddlers of the world? Do they consider socks a tool of the parental establishment? Or are my kids just a pair of sock-hating goofballs? Maybe this is an omen of things to come. What if the girls slowly rebel against all clothes and join a nudist community? What if they start trying to wear gloves on their feet and hats as pants? I just don’t know where this ends.

Bully

I like to think of myself as a very tolerant guy. With most things I’m pretty easy-going. I don’t make a habit of judging because I don’t know how to be perfect. I get frustrated, I screw up, I let my faults get the best of me sometimes. I try my best to be a little better each day. Sure there are things that people do I don’t like. Sometimes I get pissed off about it. But in the end, there are very few things that I truly hate and refuse to put up with.

I hate bullying. I am against the practice and it enrages me more than just about anything else.

Does this come from personal experience? You bet it goes. I’m one of those people who was a geek before it was socially acceptable. I’m also not a very big guy. So yeah, I was a target of more than one bully. I also look back on my life and realize something that I’m not proud of. I’m pretty sure there were a few times when acted like a bully myself. What? Someone can get bullied and then tries to do the same to someone else? What form of voodoo is this?

Do I still encounter this as an adult? Yes, I do. Not from the same people, of course. I’ve actually had the experience of being bullied by someone when we were young and then, when we were both older, being friends because people can actually grow and change. Sadly, this isn’t everyone. And to me, adults who bully other adults are just pathetic examples of humanity. It reinforces the idea that some people never move past who they were as children. And now the tactic doesn’t scare me. It just gets me mad. But it does make me wonder who made this particular bully. Was it a peer? A parent? Just poor decision-making?

This brings me to something that really upsets me, which is parents who are bullies. Do you honestly think you are raising a well-adjusted person? You think that’s making your child strong? Sorry, but you are just raising an asshole and probably another bully. And don’t think it won’t bite you in the ass when you’re old. The bully you’ve helped create isn’t going to have much empathy for an elderly parent. I know people who were raised this way. They now have part of their personality that is a bully. I give credit to the ones who have acknowledged this and try to be better. The ones who can’t or won’t, I simply have no use for them in my life. Trust me, I understand that kids are a pain. I’ve been one and I’m raising two. But I refuse to sink to the level of bullying to get my kids to act a certain way. I’ll put it like this. Do you bully your child? Is that your go-to parenting tactic? Then you SUCK as a parent. You’ve failed. Period. You will never convince me otherwise.

I am happy that there has started to be a social backlash to bully behavior. And people who throw around the whole “We’re making pussies out of America” argument need to stop yelling and use their eyes and brains for a minute. Look at the country and the world at large. Do you really think raising the Legion of Ass-hats worked out well? And I’m willing to acknowledge that this argument has a point. A world of weak minds and hearts won’t get us anywhere either. But bullying does not build character. At best, it builds stand-up comedians. At worst, you get people who will cause pain with anything they can. They will use their politics, their religion, their money, their sheer physical strength. Because they have determined that this is how you get your way. Basically, we are a world of toddlers throwing temper tantrums. You can have a middle ground, people. I’m not in favor of handing out participation trophies when you didn’t win the game, but you can still acknowledge a person’s effort and encourage them to do better. It’s fine to thank someone for doing their job, especially if it’s not an easy one. No one is asking you to shower them with pots of gold and cupcakes. How hard is it for us to learn that we should treat people how we want to be treated? Apparently, pretty fucking hard.

Do you want to know what makes me the most angry about bullying now? You can’t escape it anymore. I’m terrified of what this means for my kids. Technology has made it easier to be a bully and never have to see the pain on your target’s face. They never have to see how alone, how less than human, this person now feels. Every time I hear about a kid trying to kill themselves (or succeeding in doing so) and bullying was the reason, I feel sick. It’s so much easier to do terrible things and not be accountable for it. It’s so tempting to just become a bully yourself. I love my kids and I’m confident that I can accept pretty much any choice they could make in their lives. If I ever find out that they were a bully to someone, I will unleash science fiction levels of punishment on them! And if anyone bullies them? In the words of one of my favorite authors, there will be a reckoning.

I’ve rambled a bit, and I apologize for that. Like I said, this enrages me. What is this need to cause pain in order to make ourselves feel big? I’m not completely naive. I know that bullying will never completely go away. But no one will ever convince me that trying to be a good person is a weakness. This is what I want my kids to embrace. It may be hard to do, but people need to realize there is a difference between a firm hand and a fist.

The Negotiator and the Manipulator

Let me be honest. I love my daughters more than I can ever fully express. However, I fear we are raising a team of diabolical master planners. Beware world, lest you fall to the powers of Phoebe and Zoe.

For the prophets said, unto you shall come a tenacious negotiator and a mighty manipulator. They will appear cute, yet will unleash an age of parental oppression.

THE NEGOTIATOR: Phoebe loves to haggle. She’s four and, I repeat, she loves to haggle. I pity the poor future salesperson who will deal with her. If my mother-in-law offers her some pieces of chocolate (let’s say two pieces), Phoebe will ask for ten.

P-“How bout ten, Nonni?”

N-“How about two?”

P-“How bout eight?”

N-“How about four, Phoebe?”

P-“Okay, Nonni.”

Granted, I am of the opinion that if a grandparent wants to spoil their grandchild, they’re allowed. But Phoebe will try this with everyone on just about everything. Maybe she can watch “Sofia the First” AND have a story? Can she take a toy in the tub with her? How about TWO toys? And in the case of her parents, if it doesn’t work with one she will try the other.

“Mommy, can we go to the cat food store? Maybe Daddy can take me.”

“Daddy, can we have a treat? Maybe Mommy can get me a treat.”

She’s determined, I’ll give her that. And she knows how to be cute about it.

THE MANIPULATOR: Sweet little Zoe. Full of great big feelings and perfectly content to play with your emotions to get her way. She just turned two last month and she is becoming more and more of a troublemaker. And she is queen of the big “boo boo” face. Did you just do something she doesn’t like? Here comes the little pout and the teary eyes.

“Poor little Zozo. Here we’ll give you snuggles.”

Just like that, myself, her mom, or a grandparent scoops her up for a snug. She has poked at our squishy spots and struck gold. Oh, and forget about it if her sister gets a treat a Zoe doesn’t. Here come the big feelings! Quick, someone fetch blueberries or some crackers!

Now,Lisa and I genuinely love that Zoe is a sensitive little thing. But I’ll be damned if she doesn’t now how cute we think she is. As much as we may not want to admit it, she can play both of us just as well as her sister. Diabolical, I tell you.

Do I really think this is all that different from what other parents deal with? Not really. Do they always get their way? Definitely not. Which then leads to little meltdowns, time outs, taking toys away, and an early bedtime. It’s a pre-schooler and a toddler. This is all to be expected. And at the end of the day, these girls have their good days and bad days like anyone else. And there will be more as they continue to grow.

I realize I have a bias as a parent, but I think that Phoebe and Zoe are both pretty good girls. And I will do my best to make sure they grow into good people and amazing women. Hopefully, they won’t drive me totally nuts in the process.

We are grown ups

My wife Lisa and I are both in our thirties. We have our hobbit-sized home that we pay the bills for and try to keep somewhat clean. We have our two children and one weird cat that we feed, love, and do our best to keep alive. We both have jobs that pay us in legal currency.

So I guess we are grown ups? Is that how it works?

We have more meals that include some form of leftover than ones that don’t. My wife has, in the past, thrown her back out and will get heartburn. I have joints that ache. I’m sure, like many people, I am carrying around more weight than I really should. Yet on nights off from work, I will still shove ice cream into my stupid face.

We are grown ups.

My kids are growing up faster than I want them to, but I can’t wait to see the kind of people they become. Unless they are jerks. Honestly, the idea that my kids will turn into some of the assholes that I encounter on a daily basis terrifies me. Lisa and I are doing the best we can to make sure they are functional human beings. I really want them to be good people. Yet I will lay down at night and think of the things I probably fucked up on that particular day. I do this kind of worrying almost every night.

We are grown ups.

There are days that I don’t shower or put on real pants. My wife still laughs whenever one of the girls farts. I will walk around the house singing about what I happen to be doing at the moment. Or singing about the cat. Or the kids. There are lots of stupid songs that happen in my house.

We are grown ups?

My wife and I stress each other out. We could probably be the basis of a crappy sitcom or reality show. We will always say we love one another, then in the same day say something stupid we can’t take back. We have gotten in some of the dumbest arguments that any couple could possibly have. Then we apologize and try to move on. We both love our family and work hard at it. We are a team. We are friends.

We are grown ups.

Pick off the sick ones

This last week was not the best when it comes to health. My wife and I were both knocked out by what appeared to be a 24 hour bug. Then after a day and a half of being somewhat better, I was again laid low. Against my wishes, various grossness began shooting out opposite ends. Winter stomach flu. It plain sucked. I vote strongly against it.

My children used this week to prove they can be unfeeling goblins who will tear us apart if it pleases them.

The day both Lisa and I were down was the worst. Basically, we had to take turns trying to rest while the other took a feeble stand against Phoebe and Zoe. I will tell you that changing diapers becomes more unpleasant when you are on the verge of barfing. And that’s not even one of the verbal demands. Food still gets demanded. They continue to fuss when they aren’t getting their way. You still need to keep them occupied. They still want to put stickers on your head. All this must happen while you are wishing you could dig a little burrow in the ground and hide in it. But we love them and no one is going to do these jobs for us. So you plaster on a smile and do your best between frantic runs to the bathroom. The whole time you are also praying to any god who will listen that this plague does not get passed on to the kids.

When Lisa was better and I was still sick, I then had to contend with the solo child herding when mommy had work. Now, one of my daddy functions tends to be as a couch/jungle gym. This is another task that is preferable when you are not a barf machine. Guess who doesn’t give a shit? That’s right, the small children! So the queasy stomach gets stepped on and the glasses get poked at. Sometimes you even take an accidental knee to the groin (which REALLY doesn’t help you feel better) while you are being told to laugh like Bert and Ernie.

It probably goes without saying, but I will anyone. During all this, the cat was no help. Jerk.

So at this point, it seems that recovery is mostly complete. No more barfs or horrid poops. No one is running a temperature. I’m still feeling a little run down, but that just come with the territory. And thankfully neither of the girls seem to have caught anything. But now, I think my wife and I need to come up with a contingency plan. I can’t shake this feeling that Phoebe and Zoe were being merciful. The next time we become this ill could spell our doom if not prepared. So we must prepare to fight off not only the sickness, but also the hyenas.

Weird trees and their apples

My wife and I are two people who have been called weird at different points in our life. In fact, we have called each other weird. This is one of those words, along with geek and nerd, that has taken on different meanings. I tend to think of it as a good thing, but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t caused a struggle or two.

My kids are weird. I say this with every ounce of love I have for them. Holy crap, are Phoebe and Zoe two weird little girls.

Phoebe has barely reached the levels of weirdness I know she’s capable of evolving. She has Disney princess dolls who spend most of their time naked, because it’s apparently summer and that’s what you do. She has dipped a toy or two into applesauce to use like a spoon, leaving a perfectly functional spoon untouched next to her. The other day, Phoebe walked across the house with a pile of socks on her head so she could see what it looked like in the mirror. She likes to point out the cat’s snowflake bum, which she has for poopoos. Phoebe has also been know to pretend she’s a pirate while using the potty.

Zoe isn’t even two yet, but we are starting to scratch the surface with her. She will throw Cheerios on the floor like she doesn’t want them, but as soon as she is out of her chair she begins to forage for what is now known as “Floorios” in our house. She loves to grab anything she can get her hands on, then run off giggling like she has committed the crime of the century and she must flee Batman. She likes to put the dress-up crowns they have on her head backwards. Who knows what she’ll be doing by the time she’s her sister’s age?

Now of course, I say all these things about my girls being weird with full certainty that the term “normal” is pretty loose and subjective. The weirdness is also very entertaining. Phoebe is a lot of fun and Zoe is just a pile of cuteness and sweetness. I think they are wonderful, even if they are occasionally buttheads. I’m very happy to be their daddy. And it’s not like the weirdness came out of nowhere. This is a guy who starts singing whatever pops into his head when he’s bored. My wife once took the dress off a stuffed animal and had a fashion show with the cat.

Genetics. It’s not just eye color anymore.