Tag Archives: parenthood

15 Reasons Summer Sucks for Parents

1. Your kids act like you are coating them with fire when you try to apply sunscreen.

2. Your kids’ favorite activity when it is 100° outside is leaving the back door open.

3. You thought you would be a cool parent and let your kids pick out snacks on this road trip and now you’ve been standing in the gas station for 25 minutes.

4. All of your time at the pool is spent “watching this” and adjusting goggles.

5. Your daughter just asked if that kid that you can’t stand can spend the night.

6. You brought a chair down to the beach with you but you have a toddler so that was pointless.

7. Is that a back to school ad in the mail on July 2nd?!?!

8. 22 seconds into swimming your daughter needs to go to the bathroom even though you asked her before you got in.

9. Now you have to get a wet bathing suit off and then back on in the restroom.

10. Swim diapers (holy gross).

11. Even though they came from the same package, your kids have resorted to fighting over whose Pop Tart is biggest.

12. No matter how long they stay up past their bed time, they never sleep in.

13. You thought it would be fun to buy one of those variety packs of small cereal boxes for your children but what you really bought was a 6 pack of fights.

14. You had a dream last night about the school bus.

15. It’s called summer break because that is what your kids will do to everything in your house until school starts back.


140 Characters Walk into a Bar…

imagesY5TA3ML8

Some people call Twitter micro blogging. I haven’t written very many posts here lately but here are some of my “microblogs.”  Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @simoncholland

 

 


The Time I Tried Stand-Up Comedy

Last summer I got a chance to cross off an item from the old proverbial bucket list.  I tried my hand at stand-up comedy and pretty much had a blast.  I’m not sure why I never shared the video but I’ve been looking into giving it another try and thought it might be worth posting.  Apologies for the video quality, if I do it again I will try to get a better recording.


Whoever Said, “The Best Things in Life are Free” Obviously Wasn’t a Parent

Sweet

I Laughed So Hard, I Peed My Pants 

funny should be measured on a scale of snicker to involuntary urination

funny should be measured on a scale of snicker to involuntary urination

The rustling of the nylon against her 50 lb lanky frame as she darted through the play tunnel was the only accompaniment to the raucous giggle fest taking place. I walked up the stairs after getting home from work and heard the laughter break just long enough for the words, “Daddy, look at Lucy’s trick!” Lucy is our 8 month old  Weimaraner and she has lots of energy. My daughters had gotten out an old nylon baby tunnel and Lucy decided  running through it as fast as she could was the greatest thing ever.  My toddler agreed and just like that it was giggle-palooza.

Remember that? Remember what it feels like to laugh so hard at something that you think you may never catch your breath? Remember what it is like to have the laughter go silent as your face contorts almost in a plea to make it stop before the control of your bladder is the next thing to go?  Seems like it used to happen a lot more often doesn’t it?

No one likes pee pants but there is something kind of awesome about a moment that entertains you to the extent that you can no longer control bodily functions.  My toddler (standing on the toy box so she wasn’t in the raceway) stood there and laughed so hard she could barely breath.  Lucy, apparently relishing her new role as giggle fuel, continued to dart through the tunnel to the toddler’s delight.

I stood on the stairs and watched thinking about how the laughter of a child can be contagious.  Just before I began to wax-poetic about the unabated joy that can be found in the most simple parts of family life, the laughter stopped.  Lucy stopped.  The toddler looked at me and said, “sorry daddy, I had an accident.” As soon as the words left her mouth, the dog took off again and the giggles exploded as if the puddle on the toy box wasn’t even there.

She has been potty trained for a while now but I knew right away this had nothing to do with being potty trained.  She had simply laughed so hard she peed her pants.  While not the most fun to clean up, you have to tip your hat to the concept of laughing so hard you wet yourself.  When you are a kid there isn’t very much that you are in charge of, you aren’t used to having a tight grasp on things.  It’s probably easier to lose control because you aren’t that used to having control.  As we get older our grip begins to strengthen as we hold onto things we are responsible for and trick ourselves into thinking that we control things when all we really control is our reactions to them.

They look so sweet when they aren't sprinting through the living room or peeing on the toy box.

They look so sweet when they aren’t sprinting through the living room or peeing on the toy box.

What if you could have a moment that you didn’t just loosen your grip but you opened your hand completely, trusting that there would still be something to hold onto when you were done but for just that instant you laughed.  You laughed long and hard and maybe you don’t wet your pants but you get right to that point.  That point where everything just kind of disappears and the only thing that you are cognizant of  is the thing cracking you up.  You know what else is cool about that? Laughter is free.  I don’t know about you but for me it has been a while and I miss laughing like that.  Cracking up is totally sweet.

 

Weak

The Best Things in Life do Not Care About Money As Long As They Get Most of It 

Seriously dude? You are spending me on another glow necklace at the park then putting me in the freezer? We both know that doesn't really work.

Seriously dude? You are spending me on another glow necklace at the park then putting me in the freezer? We both know that doesn’t really work.

Remember that time I disabled the parental control’s on my daughter’s Kindle to download some movies for a long car ride but forgot to turn them back on and 2 months later found out I owned every single episode ever of iCarly? I remember it like it happened yesterday because that is when it happened.  That’s right, every single episode bought one at a time (instead of the discounted price for purchasing the entire season) over a couple of months.  I guess this goes into the family budget column of  “unexpected expenses” but I really thought that meant stuff like tire repair or an wrist cast.  I’m sure those will come but for now, our “unexpected expenses” are brought to us by Nickelodeon.  I get it though, I know it was my fault for not turning the parental controls back on but in all reality it is probably my fault because my 6 year old has a Kindle Fire.

Regardless of if it is something you have time to prepare for like shoes for school or something unexpected like a broken window and a flesh wound in need of stitches, kids are expensive.  Money arrives and departs my bank account so quickly it doesn’t even have time to sign the guestbook.  People joke that if money talked,  theirs would only say goodbye but I think mine would give me a long sigh, an exasperated look, and exclaim “seriously?”  Then I would suck it up and pay $18 for popcorn at the circus or a Disney World souvenir that will have the newness worn off on the drive home and be designated to some junk toy bin that probably holds $200 worth of plastic chachkies.

Image property of Nickelodeon, just like my $150.

Image property of Nickelodeon, just like my $150.

I wan’t my kids to experience things to the fullest as much as anyone else but now that I am older, I get why so many dads in movies and cartoons I watched as a kid came with a scowl.  I think the process goes something like this:

Kid: Look they have a petting Zoo!

Dad Brain: Awesome…..wait, twelve dollars?

Kid: Yay! Snow Cones!

Dad Brain: Gotta love snow cones…… but ten dollars?

Kid: I got invited to a birthday party!

Dad Brain: twenty dollars

Kid: Thanks for bringing us to the movies dad!

Dad Brain: fifty dollars

Kid: I think I broke my ankle, its really swollen.

Dad Brain: Rub some dirt on it.

Kid: Uh Oh

Dad Brain: Eleventy bajillion dollars.

This uh oh will cost a bit of coin but luckily she was fine. We were glad the blinds were closed and she learned a lesson about climbing onto the table.

This uh oh will cost a bit of coin but luckily she was fine. We were glad the blinds were closed and she learned a lesson about climbing onto the table.

As you can see, it is a steady digression and finding the balance between basking in the smiles of your offspring and calculating what it cost to get them can be a challenge.  I guess it is important to make it work though and realize that there are ways to make things less expensive and it is insensitive to nick name your kids “could have been a jet ski” and “instead of a lake house.”  This week I got a broken window and iCarly.  When they are teenagers I will probably look back at how this was small potatoes.  Still though, over $300 of unexpected expenses in a 10 day span is enough to put me at risk of sporting a scowl.  I mean, just think of how many fireworks you can buy with $300.  Perhaps the most telling piece of information in this blog post is the fact that I was just thinking about how many fireworks you can buy with $300 and not how much interest it could earn over the next 10 years if tucked safely into an IRA.  Enough about that, never mind the man behind the curtain  the great and powerful dad has spoken.  Kids are one of the best things in life but they are far from free and spending over $100 on iCarly episodes is totally weak.

 

 


72 Band-Aids and Plenty of Apple Juice

 

Father Knows Best was an old TV show that I am old enough to know of but not really know about. It seemed fitting, this picture is from the Interwebs and belongs to the show. I guess.

Father Knows Best was an old TV show that I am old enough to know of but not really know about. It seemed fitting, this picture is from the Interwebs and belongs to the show. I guess.

*Stands up, clears throat* Hi, my name s Simon. I am a 35-year-old father of two and sometimes I would rather play Xbox than Polly Pocket or watch a show about pawn shops instead of giving them baths. *All together now* “HI SIMON” 

Horrible huh? I mean moms on Facebook are re-purposing tiny mason jars into sippy cups and spending 6 hours making rainbow cup cakes for their kid with two last name’s preschool class. Dads are coaching multiple sports teams and all work for companies that are happy to give them half the day off to go to their first grader’s Christmas party to stand around like overgrown wall flowers and watch their kids eat said cupcake. Babies are learning sign language and how to read and the other day I met a 5-year-old that knew what quinoa was.

The over-achieving appears to be at its zenith and it seems that all of the parents around me went to orientation or got the syllabus ahead of time and have a way better clue as to what they are doing.  I mean I hate to break it to you but some mornings I wake up and it takes me a few minutes to remember I’m not 15 and I am in charge of TWO HUMAN BEINGS.

Don’t worry though, the whole grown up secret is safe with me. While I may not fool other parents, my kids think I’ve got all the answers just like we thought about our parents when we were kids. One day I will be able to hand down this tradition of the human condition to my daughters and the cycle will continue.

“Wow Simon, that was quite the little rant, you must hate being a parent.”

Nope. Being a parent is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me and guess what? It’s my favorite. I love my kids with all of my heart and I even think that sometimes I am a pretty good dad, maybe even most of the time.

I also know that it isn’t always easy and when you add being a parent to being a spouse, being a sibling, being an employee, being a son or daughter, and being an adult, sometimes you can forget what it feels like to be you.

The good news is, I think there is room to be all those things, be good at them, and still be you. I also think that if you can remember who you were when you were 15 and not be afraid to let it shine through in your other roles, it will make you better at them and the days more fun along the way.

I’m not going to lose who I am in an effort to be the best parent I can be. I’m going to share who I am with my kids and figure things out one day at a time. It may not always wind up looking like a photo on Pinterest but as long as I can keep them healthy, happy, learning, and laughing I think we will figure this thing out.

I hope to share some light-hearted stories and observations from a dad’s point of view of what it can be like raising the generation that doesn’t know what the roll down window gesture means and can’t drive to the grocery store without wanting to watch a movie.

I love them with all I’ve got even when they make me miss video games. As long as we have a fun-loving disposition, plenty of juice, and extra band-aids I think we will do just fine even when we do eat the occasional gluten and still aren’t positive that quinoa isn’t a city in Canada.


Fun Little Games Like “Find That Smell” and Other Joys of Life with a Toddler and a Puppy

Sweet

Man’s Best Friend 

Meet Lucy

Last Monday I woke up and the brilliant idea came over me that what this household really could use is one more blue-eyed brunette female needing things from me.  You read that right.  We got a puppy, another female in this house and likely a few more steps down my personal path to the loony bin.

Her name is Lucy and she really is just what our family needed (I think).  It has been a year with no dog in our house since losing our little guy Rusty and I think everyone just had a little extra love to share that needed a home.  We are finding that Lucy has plenty of it to give back too.  The girls have a serious case of puppy love and when I think about Lucy being a part of our family as the girls grow up, it makes me smile.

True, even in one week I have questioned if we bit off a bit more than we can chew but then I remember that Lucy is happy to chew the rest.  I can tell that she is going to be a great dog.  She is gentle but playful smart and learning quickly.  Another fun part about a new puppy is just in case I wasn’t already drowning in an ocean of ping and sparkle, Lucy has food and water bowls with hearts on them and a collar with pink trim.  Basically what I am saying is, if any of you are going fishing or getting together to watch the game, give me a shout.

Realizing there is enough love to go around with some left over is pretty cool, deciding to share that love with a puppy is totally sweet.

 

Weak

No Lucy, No No Lucy, That’s not your toy, do that outside, drop it, stop chewing that shoe, where did you get those panties…….. 

I may have found the secret to parenting

Shoot me.

Yes, dear old dad, in his ever continued quest to be a hero to his girls and go for the gusto, may have just relived the banana split to-go moment only with much bigger consequences than an ice cream river running through a SUV.  Don’t get me wrong, puppies are wonderful and so are toddlers.  Much like vinegar and baking soda are both, for the most part, manageable on their own; puppies and toddlers are OK separately as well.  Things get a bit more explosive when the two elements mix.  For example: it is a great idea for us to decide that Lucy will not have any table food and we will stick to that, except our little one just gave her half of a grilled cheese sandwich just now.  Unfortunately Usain Bolt couldn’t have gotten to Lucy before the sandwich was no more.

I am all for the notion that the best way to get used to the temperature of the water is to jump head first into the deep end rather than dipping in your toe.  I also realize that sometimes that method causes you to come shooting out of the water with a scream and a shiver.

We will find a way to manage and there is a part of me that will love every minute but as Lucy discovers something new to get into every minute and our toddler works to finish up this potty training thing and start flying solo, I can’t help but wonder what we were thinking.  It isn’t the toddler or the puppy’s fault that  when combined they can become combustible.  Toddler drops food, puppy eats food.  Toddler leaves out toys, puppy eats toys.  Puppy has accident in crate, toddler crawls in and doesn’t want to come out.

I love the feel of chaos when the primary ingredient is joy.  Saturday morning, however, after the girls and puppy only being up for a couple of hours, our living room looked like, smelled like, and sounded like, the beginning of the movie Saving Private Ryan.  For a split second I questioned our judgement but then I realized the toys can be put away and the messes can be cleaned up but the smiles and the laughter that was spilling in the room was a mess worth having.  They are lucky that they are all so adorable.

It is worth it, but I am not naive (well maybe a little) I recognize that when your daughter wants to live in the dog crate and the puppy won’t stop trying to eat the fireplace, it is pretty weak.


Saturday Morning

Sweet

Kid Style 

I’m not sure if it happened all of the time or only a few times but the memories of it were etched deep enough that they are easy to recall.  When I was a kid we would sometimes go to the Dairy Queen on Canton Road on Friday night.  We would sit on the patio with these round fiberglass tables with red and yellow fiberglass umbrellas that were angled just enough to keep the sun away and look like they were tipping their hat to the cars driving by.  Dad always called it getting a Brazier burger and I didn’t even know that was named after the cooking apparatus until I Googled it just now.  I would get a chili dog and there the four of us would sit like some John Cougar Mellencamp song.

When we finished dinner the sun was down and dad would buy everyone a milkshake to have on the ride home.  Usually chocolate for me, in a bright yellow paper cup.  Thick and delicious in a way that made the pain between your eyes as you tried to suck through the straw totally worth it.  We would get home and it would be time for bed.  Half eaten milkshakes were put in the freezer for safe keeping.

Until I hit the teenage sloth years, I was often the first one up on Saturday morning.  I would walk into the kitchen and get my now frozen solid milkshake and a fork.  I would turn on the TV and relish in controlling its destiny.  I would watch Super Friends and Pee Wee’s Playhouse and scrape the frozen bits of milkshake off with a fork until it melted enough to pull the straw free.

At the time I thought I was getting away with the most diabolical act of breakfast treason ever and smiled in the assurance that my unknowing parents were fast asleep right down the hall.  As the roles have changed, I now know better than thinking that they were ignorant to my scheming tucked away in blissful slumber.  They were awake, maybe groggy, but letting a little boy savor his first tastes of independence.  I will never forget that frozen leftover milkshake with Saturday morning cartoons.  Totally sweet.

 

Weak

Parent Style 

After a long week, the fatigue can often culminate on Friday night.  Yet, still determined to have some kind of life, it is inevitable that we will stay up later than usual even if it is just to have a beer or two and watch an old episode of Friday Night Lights on Netflix while folding laundry.  We are wild and crazy like that, I think the kids these days call it thug life.

We stay up later because we still live under the guise that just because we won’t be rushing off to work the next morning, that there will be time for rest and relaxation.  The reality of that is parenthood does not come with a snooze button.  Saturday mornings never arrive late, and often seem to smack me right in the face before the sun is even up or my eyes have had the chance to peal open.  Dropped toilet seats by the oldest begat cries from the toddler begat the realization that we have to be at some dumb kid’s birthday party in two hours and there is more to do than time to do it in.  It is funny how the cherry on top of that Saturday morning scramble is always writing something in said dumb kid’s card, even though a card is merely the gallbladder of a 6 year old birthday party.

Saturday mornings have a different feel now but if my oldest follows in my footsteps as an early riser, as long as she is quiet, she can eat whatever she can reach and clean up.  It would also be in her best interest to hide the evidence if she ops for ice cream sandwiches and fruit roll ups.  I can wax poetic about letting her spread her wings and have a touch of freedom but the reality is, pop should have probably passed on that last Amstel Light and just needs a few more dad gum minutes to sleep.  She has almost completed the complicated TV remote training so I think the time is drawing near.  Until then, we will remember the days of yore and hope those memories ease the pain of our new Saturday mornings that are totally weak.

 

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,253 other followers

%d bloggers like this: