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Tag Archives: magic

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.

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Not Letting Us Put Princess High Heels on the Dog and Other Ways Dad Ruins Our Life

What do you mean I can't go to my sister's school performance dressed like this?

What do you mean I can’t go to my sister’s school performance dressed like this?

I have often joked that if Hollywood made a movie about my life, the actor that would play me would be whoever is best at walking around the house turning off lights and forgetting to put a new trash bag in the can.  It’s funny how paying an electric bill can turn you into your own father.  I used to always wonder what the big deal was during the summer when he would yell at us to SHUT THE DOOR!  Now any time a door is open for more than 4 seconds it just looks like a $10 bill waving goodbye.  So I get it dad.  It took me a while but I totally get it.

I also get that sometimes you need to let your kid help with a home repair project even if all you let them do is hold the flashlight and sigh when the space in the cabinet under the sink goes dim right as you get a grip on the part of the disposal you were working on just to see your kid shining the flashlight into their mouth to see if it will come out of their ears and nose.  Sometimes being a dad means you have to take your daughter into a public bathroom and answer questions about the urinal or suck it up and smile while you fork over $18 for a bag of popcorn at the circus.  Other times being a dad means you have to tell them no when they want to put lip stick on the dog or bring the fish with us to the grocery store, “can’t we just put them in a bag like when we brought them home from the pet store?”

For me, being a dad of daughters means that sometimes I have to ease out of my comfort zone and play “bad cop” even when they act like not letting them push the button on something just ruined their entire life.  It also means helping find missing shoes and honing my negotiation skills trying to talk my little one into putting down the magic marker.  It can be about explaining why you can’t just put down a Popsicle on the table because climbing onto the kitchen counter requires both hands and it can be about threatening to turn the car around and drive home when you are 4 hours into a drive to Disney World and back seat sibling rivalry has reached an apex.

Being a dad can be about cleaning up messes and saying no and checking prices of diapers on Amazon instead of perusing watercraft on boattrader.com.  Fatherhood can include all kinds of stuff that I could deem “weak” but guess what? Those kind of problems are like hardly having enough room on your bedroom floor to set up the GI Joe Aircraft carrier.  They pale in comparison and are blown away by the awesomeness of fatherhood.  The sweet always outweighs the weak.  The good guys always win.

Being a dad means you get to freak your wife out with stuff like this.

Being a dad means you get to freak your wife out with stuff like this.

You see, being a dad means getting to carry 40 lbs of unadulterated happiness on your shoulders while you feel her ice cream cone drip on your head. It means seeing the magic that only lives inside of a Christmas morning smile.  It means getting to be a hero, prince charming, and the guy that can make everything good again.

I’ve been a dad for 7 years and although I didn’t know it when I was a kid hoping to be a baseball player or an archaeologist (I spelled that on the first try by the way), this is what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Being a dad means seeing tears dry when you kiss a boo-boo and standing alone in the street yelling “you’re doing it! you’re doing it all by yourself! keep peddling!”  It means putting up a tent in the living room or making a pallet of blankets and watching an ordinary Friday turn into the greatest day ever.

I remember when I was a kid that no matter how bad I messed something up or how hard a task seemed, when dad came to help I knew it was going to work out.  Now I get to be that guy.  The one that in two little pairs of blue eyes, can do no wrong.  I know it may only be in the opinions of my kids but I’ve got to tell you, it feels pretty awesome to be awesome.  It can be a lot of work and the return on investment may not always translate on a spreadsheet but when the fruit of your labor is rewarded with smiles and cheers and “I love you daddy’s” there isn’t much this planet has to give that is any better.

I don’t do it right all of the time and agree that being a parent can be the hardest thing in the world sometimes but if I had any advice to share with other dad’s out there it would be to not rush past the pay off.  Realize that what you do not only matters but it shapes those little people who call you daddy and has a pretty huge impact on the kind of people that they will become. Don’t let fatherhood feel like nothing but a job.  Enjoy the pay-off of your labor. Smile with them, laugh with them, put a flashlight into your own mouth and see if it will shine out of your ears and nose.  Recognize in the moment that this is what it is about and don’t rush onto the next.  Take the time to make a snuggle sandwich and feel how they have the amazing ability to be the ones that make everything all right with you the same way you do for them.  Those moments can heal you just like your kisses on scraped knees.  Remember them, enjoy them, there is nothing sweeter.

Sure, go ahead and be the bad guy when you need to but remember, you’re not really going to turn the car around and drive all the way home so let those times be the ones you dwell in the least and then remember to slow down and enjoy the part where someone laughs at all of your jokes and somehow even an average guy like you is capable of magic.

Happy Father’s Day.

What can I say, I'm a pretty lucky guy. Doesn't get much sweeter than this.

What can I say, I’m a pretty lucky guy. Doesn’t get much sweeter than this.


Don’t Step on the Magic

Sweet

Saying Yes

ketchupbread

Because why not ketchup.
Stock Photo

Sometimes you have to give in to originality. You need to stop letting your daily decisions be regimented by social norms. Sometimes the only consequence of saying yes is your kid’s snaggle-toothed smile.

What I’m trying to say here is that I just put a turkey and ketchup sandwich into a school lunch. That’s right, I pack lunches. I also get daily lunch reviews that occasionally could make the harshest New York Times food critic cringe at times. I am still waiting for my Zagat rating though.  My initial reaction to this request was saying no. I mean ketchup on a sandwich is weird, Subway has 37 different condiments you can put on a sandwich and ketchup is not one of them. I don’t want my kid to be known as the ketchup sandwich girl.

Then I thought about it for a bit and wondered who made me the boss of what tastes good to my first grader.  Once upon a time I was a kid too and I am sure I was into some stuff that was weird.  I’m sure I got told no a few times to my suggestions of strange ideas and eventually put those ideas to rest and got normal.  I’m not suggesting that this was completely my idea but had I stuck with some of my outside the norm ideas we probably wouldn’t have had to wait this long to be able to buy containers of dehydrated cereal marshmallows that we are now free to enjoy on everything from Rice Crispies to spaghetti.

The world is going to do a fine job of stepping on the innocent magic a child is born with.  Over time a part of their creativity will get broken and pushed aside as they get normal and get accepted instead of getting fun and getting crazy.  Luckily a ketchup sandwich doesn’t really have any negative side effects and saying yes was easy.  The rest of the day though, I thought about how easy it would have been to just say no and step on a little bit of her magic without even realizing it.  I’m not suggesting I need a medal or anything.  A trophy maybe but not like with a big ceremony and a marching band and having to give some inspirational tear jerking speech while I accept a key to the city and a free Subway sandwiches for life card.

It isn’t like making a ketchup sandwich made her day that much more awesome or not making it would have crushed her but the situation did offer me a chance to reflect on how fast life can kick the childhood magic right out of their hands.  I’d like to try and keep it around a bit longer, I mean who knows what kind of amazing ideas could be floating around in her head afraid to come out because they may be weird.

Sometimes I think it is good to remember that being a parent is just as much about saying yes as it is about saying no and sometimes saying yes can be totally sweet.

 

Weak

Didn’t We Just Do that Whole Cicada Thing?  

They should have given this car better handling considering all the ladies I had to dodge trying to get at me and my sweet ride. Photo from cardomain.com

They should have given this car better handling considering all the ladies I had to dodge trying to get at me and my sweet ride.
Photo from cardomain.com

Ever have a memory that seems like it occurred pretty recently and then realize it was 10 or 20 years ago?  Man, that is like age kicking you right in the breadbasket (when I was a kid, I used to watch wrestling and “bread basket” was what they called that part of a male that rests below the belt and is very sensitive to pain.)

Last night while I was wondering when David Letterman stopped being funny he made some joke about the pending Cicada Apocalypse on the east coast. I looked at my wife and asked how this could be news when it just happened like last year?  Only it didn’t happen last year, it happened 17 years ago.  That’s right, 1996 was the last time the 17 year Cicadas took over both the east coast and the monologues of used to be funny late night talk show hosts.

17 years ago I was popping a Spin Doctors CD into my disc-man and putting a tape with a cord connected to it into my in dash tape deck, hoping not to drive over too many bumps because we all knew that anti-skip technology was mostly hollow promises and nothing is worse than being right in the middle of belting out “If you want to buy me flowers” and your music screech to a halt.

How could that much time have passed so quickly?  How have I been alive long enough to remember the great 17 year cicada outbreak of ’96?  Which, if I recall correctly, did not in any way live up to the hype so I am pretty skeptical of the upcoming reunion tour.  Life has a way of sneaking by and tricking us sometimes. Sure, I realize that I have had 17 years of life experience since the last cicada show-down and I’m happy I’m not still driving a faded blue Chevrolet Cavalier with a leaky sunroof.

Just like flipping through the pages of a calendar and thinking Christmas will be here soon because, how long can it possibly take to live 6 pages, time can seem equally as fast when you look back at things that feel like they just happened and then realize it was long enough ago that you still had a bowl cut.  I’m not sad about getting older and I am having a good time filling each year with memories just as sweet as that Spin Doctors CD.  Sometimes though, having time roundhouse you from out of nowhere with how old you are can be completely weak.


This Post is Brought to you by Public Restrooms

Sweet

Blown Away 

Public restrooms aren’t much for excitement beyond the obvious relief they bring.  That is, however, until I see one of those Xlerator hand dryers.  How awesome are those?  The automated towel dispenser lost its luster quickly and the Jedi like sinks that you wave your hand under to turn on are a pain.  The turbo hand dryer though, is totally sweet.  If I see a regular old hand dryer in your restroom, you can be sure that I am leaving with equal parts damp hands and disappointment.  But if you have one of those turbo hand dryers I can’t wait to put my hands under it and watch the skin on my hands almost blow off.  I haven’t tried it yet but I bet if you bend down and look up into that thing it is a lot like skydiving.

Finding a little piece of awesome in unexpected places is totally sweet.

 

 

Weak

Do You Guys Sell Hand Sanitizer?  

via Wikipedia

Most of the time a public restroom holds zero awesome.  In fact, I don’t think that I could stomach the travel portion of my job if I had to sit down in those places.  Ladies, I don’t know how you do it.  I have been told it has to do with dark voodoo magic and levitating. My hat is off to you for both the courage and ability to navigate a place like that.

I used to think message boards on the internet were the home of hate speech and filthy innuendo.  Apparently the founding father to this segment of expressionism is the Bathroom in the Swifty Fuel on highway 59.  I learn more stuff that I didn’t want to know from that reading material than I care to admit.

I will spare you from the detail of a particular encounter I had last week, but I will sum it up like this.  Sometimes I finish using the bathroom, look at the sink, and realize my hands were just touching one of the cleanest things in the room.  I walk back out into the store and look for a little bottle of hand sanitizer.  It may cost $7.99 but at least I won’t have to be shipped off to the CDC because of the unknown strand of monkey pox I picked up at mile marker 68.

According to the literature, a good time can be had there on Wednesday nights at 10:45, but I think it is safe to say public restrooms are completely weak.

 


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