Posts Tagged dad

The curious case of the missing beaver

For several lonely years, a gopher lived in my Father’s study when one day, a beaver came to live and be friends with it. Now, that beaver is missing. See, son is fascinated with those two creatures, so much so that the last time he was at Poppy’s house, son took and hid the beaver. When Poppy asked, “Do you know where the beaver is?” son replied with a noncommittal answer.
“I don’t know…”
They searched high and low, all over the house to no avail. The following week when son was again at Poppy’s, he was asked if he could help them find it. “I can’t remember…”
Last Saturday, I discovered why Kroger Supermarket puts candy at toddler eye level on the checkout aisles. Son tried to sneak a Rollo into his pocket.”What is that?” I asked knowing exactly what was going on.
“I want a Rollo.”
“Not today.”
“I want a Rollo!”
I pulled the candy out of his tightly clenched hand and returned it to the shelf. He went for it again and I deftly picked him up and moved him away. Or, so I thought. By the time I grabbed his waist, he had a vice grip with both hands on the candy shelf. I pulled and pulled until he finally let go and moved him toward the end of the aisle. He made a rush for it, but I blocked him and moved him back again, while he was kicking and hollering.
He then took it upon himself to block the cart with his body; ” What’s the password?” he asked.
Really…I thought. “I don’t know. What is it?”
“Guess.”
“Move, Now! We have to pay the lady.” I picked him up again, kicking and hollering then blocked him with my knee as I paid, hoping no one was going to call DFACS.
We get to the car where he then refused to get in his car seat. After pleading with him then forcing him in, I finished unloading the groceries in the trunk and made for home. As I was leaving, I noticed I had a voicemail from wife from an hour earlier: “Listen, if you want to wait until I finish running, I will watch son while you go to the store alone. I know how hard it is to take son with you.”
Duh.

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Potty Training

The day I got married was expected to be the happiest day of my life. Granted, I have never regretted spending 18 years with the same woman; I have enjoyed it. Now, if you know me, or specifically knew me when I was a young man, you knew I was definitely focused only on how events in life affected me. I was used to being the center of attention. When I met my wife, I learned quickly that I would have to give up personal feelings of selfishness to ensure my wife was happy.
Fast forward to this week and I learned a new level of giving that I had not experienced before: Potty Training. When my daughter was three, her nursery school helped us through the laborious process of training and basically informed us when she stopped having accidents. Whether it was her personalty or just the way things went, her training involved little effort. Not so with my son. He is going to challenge us to our very last nerve.
This morning after my son woke up, I spent every five minutes asking him if he needed to go and realized nothing I could say would encourage him. We ad to go shopping so I pleaded with him to visit the bathroom but he vehemently announced his displeasure with that idea by saying, “Nooooo.” But then we were picking my daughter up from dance, he asked to go to the bathroom. We went, and he used the public toilet in the dance center without hesitation.
I basically don’t know what I’m doing as I raise my children. Every decision seems to have two negative aspects for every one positive, and then I don’t know if I am actually right. Maybe that is parenting. People guessing what to do next and hoping their children never find out how little they know. The gig is up, mom and dad! Your amazing wisdom seems now pieced together bits of self-help suggestions with a little guesswork. You know what, though? I realize that we are all just muddling our way through the quicksand of life and no one knows the answer.
Tomorrow, when I suggest my child use the bathroom instead of urinating on the floor, I will remind myself that this one lesson will lead to a lifetime of independence. How about all those times when we don’t even realize the effect we have. Remember, your kids are listening to and watching what you do…

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The Dog Days of Summer

Everyone has their special memories of Summer. The Summer Break was the reward for a difficult school year and often was defined by the family trip across the country going from one Howard-Johnson to the next. Recently, scholars began to question the negative impact of long breaks away from school and thus, the year-round school schedule was born. Whether you define Summer as Memorial Day through Labor Day or simply the week of July 4th, it will always remain significant in developing lasting memories.
Tomorrow, I go back to school to prepare for the 2011-2012 calendar year. It seems like it took the first six weeks to develop a working routine and then finally enjoy the last two weeks where the kids haven’t driven me crazy. Obviously, like the fact that I get eight weeks of vacation every year and do not want to simply give that up, but there’s always one guy in the crowd that complains teachers got it “too good.”
Those same people fail to see the symbiotic relationship my career has with their lives. If I teach their children, and I get eight weeks off, so, too, do the children. Those weeks in Ocean City require workers at the putt putt and Kandy Kitchen. The lifeguards go to college and they want the summers off too. In other words, if they want to enjoy their beach vacation, then I need to get those weeks off.
Consider this my last stand as I head back to work. I don’t want to work, but the Lottery simply has not been cooperating. I promise to take you around the world with me when I win, if your kids are on Summer Vacation. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep them enrolled so they learn how to act when they become independently wealthy.

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Date Night and Harry Potter

Recently, I posted about an event my wife and I used to escape our children and enjoy what has affectionately been denoted “Date Night.” While we were out, my wife purchased a Groupon, the best thing if you’re willing to spend money in the first place, for a movie house that served dinner. Yet another opportunity to go out on the town arose.
You may be aware that I won an oyster eating contest by eating 100 in 6 minutes and 36 seconds offering me a gift certificate at a local bar. My wife immediately commandeered the money and slotted it for use when we could see the final installment of Harry Potter. It amazes me how much effort goes into arranging situations where people hire babysitters while they eat and be merry. There’s nothing wrong with this…really, I think after 7 straight days of changing diapers, I could use a break. I only have one. God help those with five.
The real question stands with the reasons why you want to go out. When you leave your kids to go on a date, does it feel all the sweeter to see them tucked into bed that night as you sneak in to give them that last goodnight kiss? Sometimes, it is just better to leave the kids at home while grownup activities occur. I doubt the patrons of that speakeasy in New York I visited would be considerate as my two year old had a tantrum about whether he could play with the candle on the table. Don’t feel guilty about leaving the kids behind, you are doing everyone else a favor!

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Life in the fast lane

Last night, I went to the 2011 Summer Tour finale of Furthur, featuring the music stylings of Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. We arrived early, in fact, even before the venue was open. We drove around and discovered a gypsy-style camp where followers of the band and vendors were hanging out, hoping for a parking pass or miracle ticket. These individuals had been traveling with the band from town to town.
We often wonder what it would be like to give up our daily concerns and hit the road on tour with the band. The problem arises when you discover it isn’t 1969 anymore, and very little free love exists. The mom and pop diners and motels have given way to ultra-homogenized fast food restaurants and chain hotels that offer turn down service. While strolling through the vendors in the lot, we noticed the vibe that comes with $1 beers sold out of a trunk and a falafel grilling on a propane stove. But, like anywhere, there were those who had a gentle demeanor and those that were gruff.
The Grateful Dead survived on the ideals of sharing, but I wonder if too many of the current followers have gotten caught up in the fast lane and have forgotten the reasons they left their life in the suburbs. I had a great time and met people from all over, including a vendor from Colorado that sold us two children’s tie-dyed shirts. Every once in a while I notice I haven’t smelled the roses lately and I think we could all spend a moment to find and stop by them.

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Why kids can’t tell time…

When William Shakespeare penned the lines of Hamlet describing time as the undiscovered country, he joined the ranks of countless writers who saw it becoming a river, flowing, unstoppable, and others who saw the seasons as the four corners of life. Either way, they touched on the idea that we’ve all come to recognize; time poses as an enigma, a puzzle that is easy to waste, difficult to manage, and impossible to master.
Today, I visited Six Flags amusement park and realized time would become my enemy as I waited to enter the parking area and witnessed the pilgrimage of hundreds of patrons that would all find a way to be in front of me in the lines for the rides. My first ride took forty minutes and seven hours later, my last ride took sixty. In between, my daughter and I balanced the merits of the ride with the variable wait times. We eventually gave up and went into the waterpark.
My point to make today is that parents may not understand according to the Fresh Prince, but kids just don’t get time. “We’ve already waited forty-two hours (15 minutes)…” Tonight, as my daughter got ready for bed, she did so in the longest possible manner. See, the reason kids can’t follow the intricacies of time management is they don’t need to. Parents tell them when to be ready, when to eat, when to go to bed. They NEVER have to rationalize an early bedtime with an important meeting. This entry easily should illustrate that ignorance (innocence) is bliss.

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