Tag Archives: parenting

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.


My Christmas Card to You

Sometimes if we have Christmas cards left over I will wait until Dec. 22 and mail them out to our “fringe friends” just to make them feel guilty. This year I thought I would try to get on the good list for once and share what we sent to our friends and family with you. It can’t be all great but even with the weak parts, it is still my favorite time of the year.

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This is me. Christmas morning nineteen eighty awesome

 

Some parts of Christmas make it the best time of the year. Other parts, not so much.

Sweet

  • The look on tiny faces as they peer up into the attic anxiously awaiting the first box of Christmas decorations.
  • That moment when the tree is finally lit and decorated and the floor is vacuumed and you can sit back and take in one of the first moments of Christmas.
  • Electricity is in the air, presents are being hidden, elves are up to mischief, children are on their best behavior. The anticipation starts to build slowly and if you’re lucky it becomes almost tangible.
  • The best sing along music of the year, even when your wife tells you to let Whitney hit the high notes in O Holy Night by herself.
  • Pausing the hustle and bustle to read aloud about what happened that night in the little town of Bethlehem.

 

Weak

  • Shouldn’t Christmas decorations come with coupons for couples counseling?
  • Sorry honey, I tried to dry my hair without following the steps on the Christmas light electrical flow chart you made and now all the lights in the house are out.
  • Stands of Christmas lights that only light halfway are the reason for the first spiking of eggnog.
  • I think I just found a Frasier Fir needle in my underwear.
  • Do people still use the word tight to mean cool? Because that would make me feel better about how last year’s Christmas sweater fits

I hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday and 2015 brings happiness to you and yours.

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I lost a dear family member this year that was one of my favorite people to laugh with. We made this the day we were remembering him. Miss you Uncle Wayne.

 

WAIT!

Oh, one more thing. I got to be part of a very cool project this year and join with 30 other writers to create The Big Book of Parenting Tweets These writers are insanely funny and I was honored to be included with them. If you are a parent, have a parent, know a parent, or are thinking of becoming a parent, you should buy this book. It is full of short snippets of the raw and honest side of parenthood and it will leave you laughing out loud. Seriously, it is great. Ok, pitch over.

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I’m not saying it can teach your kids to read but I think this photo speaks for itself.

 


Crying Games

Sweet

Kissing Boo-boos 

This sticker sucks, where is the princess?

This sticker sucks, where is the princess?

My kids can go from adorable and well-behaved to faking an injury in the speed of being told no.  Injuries have always been spotlight grabbers and kids are smart.  We go through band aids like paper towels because let’s be honest, band aids are just princess stickers that come with sympathy and attention.  Could there be anything better to have for a toddler.  So yeah, I recognize that when I hear, “I NEED A BAND AID” it rarely is warranted and often the location of said boo-boo can mysteriously relocate in the time it takes to get the wrapper off of the sticker band-aid.  That’s because keeping tabs on the locale of imaginary injuries can be a tough job.

There is a real benefit to those little bumps and bruises though, both real and imaginary ones.  It gives me a chance to kiss something and make it better.  Even though my lips have no magical healing abilities, as long as I am dad and they are little, kisses get to be better than medicine because they make everything feel better. There is definitely some magic in that.  When we grow up tears usually have so much stress fueling them that kisses and hugs seem to lose their luster. I try to remember how lucky I am to be able to provide the kind of comfort that a parent gives their child and though some level of that will always remain, this is the time that it is really special.  For example, go find an adult that is crying and start to tickle them and see what happens.  One of the greatest things about being a parent is being able to make everything better in their eyes even on days that you can’t seem to get anything right in yours.  Seeing a tiny little smile begin to blossom out of a face puddle of tears is totally sweet.

 

Weak

There Will Be Tears 

I don't want crust on my sandwich!

I don’t want crust on my sandwich!

Speaking of face puddles, toddlers are crazy good at crying.  In their defense, if I was just beginning to learn and understand that I was a part of a whole big world instead of the whole big world being a part of me I may get a bit verklempt as well. I’m not suggesting that our little one isn’t still the boss of us in a lot of ways but she is starting to figure out that the whole baby thing where the world and everyone in it revolved around her was only temporary.  That is probably a tough pill to swallow and for the most part she is handling that kind of life changing realization rather gracefully but every now and then the reality slaps her cold in the face and she isn’t in the mood to deal with it.

She doesn’t know how to do a ton of stuff yet but for as far back as she can remember tears got results.  Granted back then she was crying because she needed a clean diaper and now the tears may be because butterflies won’t talk to her or her mean parents won’t let her mix Skittles with Cheerios and milk for breakfast.  When she was a baby the only reasons her cries weren’t tended to immediately was If they went unheard. Well, Captain Lung Capacity has no struggle with upping the volume  and if that doesn’t work, then the real exasperation begins to set in.  I’ve even had her suddenly stop mid sob to look up at me and say, “DADDY, I’M CRYING!”  Like anyone in our house or on our street didn’t hear her.  There should be a game show where parents of toddlers have to guess if the cries of a 2-year-old are the result of an appendage stuck in a piece of running farm machinery or if they got an orange Popsicle when they wanted a red one.

Toddler-hood is the gateway into a brave new world and I need to remind myself that it isn’t all roses and sunshine for them either.  I should also keep in mind that If I am going to call them a jerk under my breath I had better make sure it is way under my breath because the lady at the grocery store doesn’t understand but is happy to offer her parenting critique.  Like apparently suggesting that your kid  can use the tears streaming down her face to wash down the two more bites of carrots (that basically make up 79% of her entire lunch) you are begging her to eat is not good form.

I am lucky that these times are less and less frequent and love them no matter what causes the crying but when it is because they aren’t allowed to paint the TV, it is totally weak.


They Don’t Just Get Bigger, They Get Smarter Too.

Sweet

Innocent 

image via Precious Moments

As is chronicled in this blog (that as of Sept. 6 has now been cluttering up a corner of the internet for an entire year), I have some ladies in my life.  Three of them residing inside our humble abode (maybe more but its hard to tell with fish).  There is not a place in my house that I can go where I am not within arm’s reach of at least 3 ponytail holders.  That being said, they all seem to vanish when we needed to be out the door five minutes ago.  I wouldn’t trade being the only Y chromosome in  this house for the world but it can present some interesting challenges.  The hair and shoe wars have already begun and sometimes I can get caught in the cross-fire.  It isn’t that I don’t want to help.  I have offered to do the girl’s hair on a number of occasions but my beautiful wife prefers that they not look like hobo children.

They may be getting older and bigger, but they are still my little girls and dad’s have a way of seeing past the tantrum and fall sucker to their innocent requests.  It’s not that I always want to play the “good cop” but often it is the only role left.  Sadly, that isn’t because my wife likes to play “bad cop” but rather because I am predictable and my past performances of being a push over are already becoming evident.

I’m not saying I let the women in my house manipulate me, it’s just that most of the time, the women in my house manipulate me.  The sad thing is, right now they are too young to even mask their intentions.  I see right through them and still cave in.  For example, last week, our soon to be two-year old came up to me at bedtime and said “daddy, I lay in your big bed so you can snuggle me?”  I knew it was bed time, I knew the importance of her sleeping in her bed.  I also knew that one day I would wish with all my heart for her to say something like that, so I folded like a cheap suit and into my bed we went.

That is just one example of many and I feel bad for the future dudes in their lives.  Sorry guys, I was helpless against it too.  The thing is, the innocence in what they want and the smiles I can create with simple wish granting will probably be gone soon.  So for now, within reason, daddy caves in and most of the time when he does, it is totally sweet.

 

Weak

Diabolical 

I shouldn’t have to site this, but it’s Obi Wan from Star Wars. Duh.

I know what you were thinking reading that first part.  This guy is setting a bad precedent.  Discipline can be a slippery slope and if he can’t say no to them now, it will only get worse and their requests will only turn more demanding.  Don’t go and call child services just yet, I say no plenty.  The words no, and be careful, are probably spoken by me more often than any other, even if they do fall on deaf ears from time to time.

Most of the time the requests of my little angels are innocent and pure of heart but I can already sense a twinge of diabolical in each of them.  The little one knows how to tilt her head and give me that cutie pie face when all she really wants are fruit snacks, and the oldest knows how to say daaaady with just the right tone and inflection to get my attention before asking me to turn on the Disney channel.

I love my wife and my two daughters more than you can probably imagine but I recognize they outnumber me and it is important that a situation never arises where sides are chosen.  I can see them getting smarter.  I know that they pay attention and pick up on things that I may not even notice.  I am not suggesting that as women they are pre-wired to be resourceful and use highly developed tactics of manipulation to get the things that they want.  I am saying that from time to time I have been fooled and in hindsight realized that they knew exactly what they were doing and it was scary smart.  I know that it isn’t three against one and my wife recognizes it more often than I do and works to put a stop to it.  Without her, I may be in trouble.  She notices the subtlety that I am too obtuse to recognize.  She is the master.  In fact, that is worrisome in its own right.  If my girls are paying close enough attention, they will probably, one day, be able to execute ninja moves like the one that took place in my house this week:

Beautiful Wife: I was thinking we should have Thanksgiving at our house this year.  It has been a while and everyone had such a good time.  My mom still talks about that turkey you made.

Me: OK

(3 days later)

Beautiful Wife: We need a new dining room table.

Did anyone get the number of that bus that just hit me?  It was as if she waved her hand across my eyes and Jedi mind tricked me saying “these are not the droids you’re looking for.”  I’m not saying she is Yoda (because she hates short jokes) but you have to recognize skill when you see it.  I couldn’t be happier or more blessed to share my life with these three amazing women (and possibly above average fish).  I love them more than words but when you recognize that you’ve been Jedi mid tricked and the innocence has turned diabolical, it’s totally weak.

 

 

Note

I was skeptical when I wrote my first post over a year ago if I would be able to maintain something like this.  It has been an enjoying way to tap into a creative side that I let sit covered for too long.  This was my wife’s idea and I love her for seeing things in me that I don’t always see myself.  I have a pretty ordinary life when looked at from the outside but getting the pleasure of being in it with my 3 beautiful girls is as extraordinary as it gets from my vantage point. 

I truly appreciate you all that take time out of your day to wander by and read.  The posts may not be coming quite as consistently lately but I assure you that I am still around and have no plans of going anywhere.  Thank you all for helping make the last 12 months an awakening of sorts for me, you are the best.

-Simon


Taking Off Your Training Wheels

Sweet

I Love You More Than Christmas 

image property of sweetandweak.com

You definitely didn’t come easy.  Or cheap for that matter.  One day when you are older, your mom and I will explain to you about the doctors visits and the treatments and why we still sometimes call you a miracle.  Tomorrow will mark six whole years that you have been in our life and six years that we have been clocked in for one of the best jobs life has to offer.

You were pretty tiny on that first day and none of the clothes we brought to the hospital even fit you.  Now you had one of the top cubby holes in kindergarten because you were one of the few that were tall enough to  reach it.  Preemie clothes and top shelf cubbies may be the physical bookends of your life right now but it seems like you are adding a new story everyday and I am so proud of what you already have in your collection.  If your life were a bookshelf, most of it would be empty shelves right now and when I think about the kind of little girl you are growing up to be, it makes me excited to have a front row seat as you fill it up with the stories of your life.

I took the training wheels off you bike on Memorial Day weekend and as I slowed down my jog and let go of your seat you peddled  away from me on your own, leaving me standing in the street full of pride and a lump in my throat.  I couldn’t help but think of that moment as a metaphor for the rest of your life.  As a parent, we can only take you so far in every experience until we have to let you go so you can fully experience the joy of being submersed into life with the realization that your floaties have been left behind and you are treading water on your own.

All of that may sound silly because you are still only 6 years old and the list of things you can do without us still pales in comparison to the list of things you need us for.  From this point forward though, only one of those lists can grow.  I cannot put into words the unabashed joy that you have brought into our life.  Six years ago, everything in my world became more because you were in it.

Right now you still probably think I am the coolest and funniest guy in the world but I know that won’t last forever.  I cherish it though, and even though my arms tire faster from picking you up and swinging you around, I want to keep doing it until your smiles diminish or my other rotator cuff tears, whichever comes first I guess.  If my hugs ever feel a bit tighter than normal sometimes it is because I am trying to get them to soak in extra deep.

I am so proud of the stories you have written so far and so excited about the chapters and volumes that you will get to add to your little life.  You are a smart and beautiful little girl and have that kind of personality that makes all of the places you wander to, better while you are there.  You love to laugh maybe more than anything and I know we will always share that as a special bond.  You make me proud to be your dad and excited for all of the experiences that life has on tap for us to share together.

I used to think I wanted to stop you from growing and keep you little forever but if I had been given one glimpse of who you are now, those feelings would have been replaced with the excitement of getting here.  I watch how you learn and respond to things around you and the love and protection you show for your family (especially your little sister) and I couldn’t be more proud.  You are putting your imprint on my life just as definitively as I am putting mine on yours.  In fact, thanks to you I would be willing to go toe to toe with anyone on “Good Luck Charlie” trivia.

These next several stories are going to be so much fun and I can’t wait to live them out together.  You still have a long way to go before leaving me behind with a lump in my throat is more than just a metaphor.  We are going to have a great time filling your pages with memories and I hope one day you look back and one of the best ones was the day you turned six years old.

I love you more than anything in the world, even Christmas.

Happy Birthday

**Writing an emotional and kinda sappy letter to your daughter and letting strangers read it and making someone tear up is totally sweet.

 

Weak

The Birthday Momatition 

image via Pinterest

I know that I am a pretty plugged in dad when it comes to parenting stuff but keep me out of the whole competition or momatition.  Not everyone is guilty by any means, but I see it on social media and recognize the subtle pressure that builds when you spend 5 days constructing a chocolate fountain out of Legos for your son’s birthday or hire a calligraphist to write the invitations on scrolled up pieces of birch bark because this year’s theme is “the camping party.”

We did a few birthdays at our house and while lots of time, effort, and money were put into them, we never got to the point of having a dump truck full of sand turn our backyard into a beach party.  That is because we aren’t crazy.  Our daughter, on the other hand, has only wanted to have her birthday at Chuck E. Cheese for about as long as she could talk.

While we haven’t been to germ-fest USA for a Chuck E. Cheese party yet, the whole birthday party somewhere that isn’t your house is the best idea ever.  I mean, there are still streamer remnants hanging from the unfinished ceiling of our garage from when our daughter turned 4.  Getting to leave all of that behind when you head home is awesome.

You may be a little put off that the goodie bags are actual bags instead of re-purposed mason jars and that the birthday cake came from a store and is probably choc-full of gluten (whatever that is) but the difference between the two types of parties really lies in the fact that the next day both kids are a year older but only one set of parents will spend the rest of the weekend cleaning up.

Using something as peasant like as the mail to deliver invitations and not creating our own wrapping paper with our handy stamp kit may not make us famous on Pinterest but not having to deal with the glue gun burns or the 27 trips to and from the craft store is a pretty good trade-off.  Kid’s birthday parties are awesome but when they get turned into a momatition it is totally weak.


Thank God for Little Bags of Shut the Heck Up (Parenting with Fruit Snacks)

Sweet

Teach Them Well and Let Them Lead The Way  

I couldn’t agree more with those lyrics from the late Whitney Houston.  Creating a person is one of the greatest things of all.   As with anything though, eventually the new wears off.  Once all of the awe and splendor of creating human life finally begins to fade into the background you realize that there is a whole lot more to this thing than just keeping them alive long enough for them to be able to actually sleep with a pillow or blanket without risk of SIDS.  The fun part begins when they begin to walk and talk and are basically your very own DNA Play-Doh that you get to shape however you like.

At 20 months old, our youngest daughter is a lot like one of those smart phone apps you say something to and it repeats you in a cute funny voice.  She is learning new words and phrases everyday and it is obvious that no member of our family is passing up the chance to leave a few thumbprints in her molding process.  Last week while driving a squeaky little voice from the back seat piped up and said “WATCH IT DADDY!” followed by an eruption of giggles from her big sister.  Our oldest has come to the conclusion that teaching her little sister new phrases is the funniest thing ever, especially when they are phrases that she doesn’t have the guts to say out loud herself.  Her mom teaches her to say sweet things like “love the baby” and “I am one years old.”  It may not have been until last night though, as she wandered through the house yelling “BACON IS AWESOME” that I realized how sweet this new little game could be.

Yesterday I watched her drag the stool from the bathroom into her room and proceed to climb up onto her changing table and then climb back down.  This newly discovered talent also explains the bowl of apples in the kitchen full of mysterious little bite marks.  When you reach that point of realizing you did your job keeping them alive this long and now it is time to really turn them into someone cool, it is totally sweet.

Weak

Armed with Snacks 

Sometimes it is like watching Gizmo turn into a Gremlin.  From adorably cute to little monster in 3.6 seconds.  Most of the time we realize it is part of the gig and take it all in stride.  Other times the cries of our children have the ability to reduce us to begging pleading shadows of our former self.  Often, our transformation can be just as rapid as theirs.

Sunday morning I found myself trying to rationalize with my one year old, “Yes sweetie, your daddy is very handy but even he cannot fix a broken banana or put it back into the peal so please for the love of everything holy just stop crying.”  Yeah, it was like that.  There are times though, when the humane and sensitive options of soothing are exhausted, that parents are forced to go to the silver bullet in the battle against their little weretoddlers.  That’s right.  Fruit snacks.

They may be disgusting little gummy sugar wads but there is no doubt that they have been blessed by some great shaman or created by a wizard.  When readying ourselves for a day out in public with our little ones, I am often reminded of that scene in Rambo when he straps weapons onto his arms and legs and then rises tying the red band around his head.  Usually, I leave with pockets full of goldfish and Cheerios and emergency fruit snacks strapped to my ankle (stuffed in my sock).  I am locked and loaded and ready for battle the grocery store.  It may sound like taking the easy way out but I have found that sometimes, a stern tone or empty threat simply do not have enough fire power and the only way to shut their mouths is to give them something to chew.  Every now and then, I feel like just tearing the bag open with my teeth and lobbing them in her general direction like a little grenade of shut up.  The bonus with that tactic is that it takes extra time for her to wander around finding all of the gelatinous nubs of artificial flavor and strengthens her immune system since she will be eating from the floor.  Kids are one of the best things to ever happen to me but fruit snacks as a silencer is totally weak.


Life in The Last Minute

Sweet

Being Sucked in Until The Credits Roll 

How sweet is that moment when you get your last kid to bed and the last toy either cleaned up or kicked to the corner?  The great nightly sigh of relief that I sometimes feel should be accompanied by a roaring crowd or at least a steady golf clap for another one in the books, another job well done.  We love our kids but that nightly respite from activity is a calmness worth basking in.

Last night, after a long day at work with the kids down and the wife lost in her Kindle, I nestled into the friendly confines of my couch’s butt groove and took part in America’s true past time, channel surfing.  Flipping between the NBA playoffs and anything else that struck my fancy, I stumbled upon an old movie called U.S Marshals.  It is the kind of movie that is right in my wheelhouse of enjoyment and from the minute I heard Tommy Lee Jones say things like “zoom in on the man by the door” and “Ok, put it on the big screen and clean up the image”, I knew what I was doing with the next 45 minutes.  I never get to say stuff like “hold him on the line while we triangulate the cell tower and pinpoint his location”  in my line of work and getting to say that stuff is rad.

I enjoyed finishing the movie and thought about how awesome it is when you come across an old movie that you like.  When you catch it in the middle it doesn’t seem like such a time investment and the serendipitous nature of your discovery is rewarding.  There are some movies that I know  that no matter what point in the story it is in, I will be locked in until the credits.  My sure things are The Empire Strikes Back, You’ve Got Mail, and any action espionage flick that has a lot of courier font being typed up on the screen saying stuff like ” Langley, 15:00 hours.”  I have probably seen the last 10 minutes of You’ve Got Mail a hundred times.  I am waiting for the day my daughter asks “Why didn’t Kathleen Kelly just track Joe Fox’s IP address and then find him on Facebook or something?”  Wasn’t the innocent technology naiveté of the 90’s comfy?

There is no doubt about it, when you have a bit of free time and your channel flips to Luke landing in the Dagobah System, it is totally sweet.

Weak

Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until The Excruciating Last Second? 

The Problem with letting myself get absorbed into the thrilling plot twists of a movie like “Sharktopus” is that more often than not, my free time is really just a byproduct of my own laziness and denial.  I have a tendency to push responsibility to the back burner sometimes in the name of enjoyment and gratification.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I once started a science fair project during third period of the day that it was due.  In college I would often pull all nighters or sometimes even decide I wanted to sleep and set my alarm for 3:30 in the morning to get up and start writing a paper that was due in 5 hours.  I guess some people base jump or rock climb, but for me, the most intense adrenaline boosts seem to come when a deadline is on the horizon and rapidly approaching.

I get that this isn’t the best way to operate and the longer you wait to complete a task increases the odds for failure.  I am not sure if I missed a page in the “being a grownup” handbook but the whole concept of getting something done early so you don’t have to stress about it has never really taken hold.  I can absolutely see the benefits of doing stuff early but I think that I have convinced myself that the stress and sometimes panic fuels me to create my best work.  (That sounds like even more of a cop-out now that I have written it.)

I need to improve in that area of my life and my first step is probably addressing my general organizational skills which sadly, still look pretty much like the bottom of my tenth grade locker.

Writing this blog has been fun and I would love to continue by trying to think of more almost funny material or recycle old jokes that I haven’t put here yet but I have a huge proposal that I have known about for a month and it really needs to be finished by the close of business today.  Guess it is time to get started.  The last-minute may be exciting but waiting that long all of the time is totally weak.


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