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Tag Archives: toys

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.

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Drawing The Line at Painted Toesies

Sweet

Daddy’s Home! 

Hearing two little high-pitched voices squeal those words as I walk up the stairs makes it all worth it.  When people say there is something special about a daddy’s girl they are right.  Two beautiful little bundles of blue eyes and curls that I still can’t believe I had a part in creating.  Daughters have a way of stealing your heart in an instant and making you work for the rest of your life to ensure that they never give it back.

Having two daughters probably means two weddings and two first dates and that I will spend 2020 to 2028 with a daughter in high school.  Those things are daunting for sure but there is still a lot of time between now and then and it gets to be filled with giggles and tickles and dress up and tea parties.  I don’t bat an eye when given the opportunity to toss a pink feather boa over my shoulder and lift my pinkie for a spot of tea.  I try to keep them well-rounded with an occasional light saber battle but when having two daughters means wearing a tiara and competing in a beauty pageant,  I join in without question.

I do it because I love them in a way that I could have never understood before they were here.  I do it because their smiles and giggles feed my soul and also because Doc McStuffins is actually a pretty good show and I need to find out what happens even when they wander off and I am left watching it alone.   I have painted a bedroom purple, another bedroom pink, and then repainted the purple one pink.  I have a “wing” of our house adorned in pastel and fairy dust.  It may sound silly but even when I feel as if I may drown in a sea of pink and sparkle, nothing makes me feel more like “the man” like having two little girls who love their daddy.  You see, to them, I am the man.  When they seek protection or provision or even occasionally a prince charming or a knight in shining armor, their search ends with me.  There is magic in that.

When we found out our second was a girl I told my wife that I finally understood why God had made me so good with women.  She didn’t find it near as hilarious as I did but I like to think that He knew I would embrace the frilly and the sparkle and recognize how special girls are.

They really do grow up faster than you are prepared for and I love seeing them grow into themselves.  I get excited about the women they will become and realize how I get to be a part of that, a part of them.  There isn’t much that I wouldn’t do for those two girls.  To keep them safe or to just to see them smile.  I am a full contact dad of daughters but even I have my limit.  Though the begging seems to amplify, there will be no painting of daddy’s toesies and no lip stick.

Last night I held our youngest and rocked with her as she fell asleep.  At 19 months her feet now hit my legs and she seems to spill out of the lap that not too long ago enveloped her.  I listened to the rhythm of her breathing and soaked in the moment.  I sat there for a long time and hoped that this Sunday evening would root itself deep enough into my soul that I will still be able to find it 20 years from now.

Daughters are totally sweet.

Weak

Sometimes I Just Need More Lasers 

So yeah, I play with the girl toys because all of the emotional mumbo jumbo I just wrote about is true but sometimes dad just wants to blow stuff up.  I still want to play with their cozy critters, only I want to turn them into lunch for a hungry Jedi Knight that hunts them down.

When you play toys with your kids, it takes you back to your own childhood.  The thing is, when I was a kid, Star Wars, GI Joe, and The Dukes of Hazzard were my jam and I never had much use for Barbie, Polly Pocket, or Cabbage Patch Kids.  While nothing in the world can change my love for my girls, sometimes I just need to wander down the boy side of the toy section to see what kind of rocket packed monster killing super agents are lining the shelves today.

I loved my toys when I was a kid and sometimes it bums me out when I am putting stuff together on Christmas morning and realize none of this shizz came with a grappling hook.  My girls never like it when I make Barbie’s corvette careen off an embankment and crash into a twisted pile of flaming steel.  No one ever wants to make Strawberry Shortcake a secret agent or My Little Ponies Dinosaur snacks.

This is an area where my wife is truly awesome.  Last Christmas she gave me light sabers.  She knows that I won’t get to vicariously enjoy the girl’s fighter jets or transformers.  She also knows that I spent most Decembers as a kid with a Sears Wish Book in my lap drawing circle after circle around the greatest toy man has ever known.  The U.S.S. FLAGG G.I. Joe aircraft carrier complete with towing fuel vehicle, admiral’s launch, and working electronic sound system.  I might as well have been circling a picture of one of the Egyptian pyramids because there was no way I was getting either.  I remember seeing the aircraft carrier in a store and marveling that it seemed to take up the bottom shelf of the entire aisle.  I remember it was over $100.00 which might as well have been a million.  I coped with its elusiveness because it seemed like no one actually got the aircraft carrier.  That is, until one day you find yourself in Pete Mooney’s basement  taking in its glory firsthand and realizing it truly was the greatest thing you had ever seen.

I appreciate that my wife realizes that after time all of the sparkle starts to take a toll on old dad.  It is nice to pepper in the occasional sword fight or pirate scenario into play time because take it from me, your daughters think that having their American Girl Doll taken hostage by an evil doctor plotting to rule the world is totally weak.


Some People Don’t Have to Search for Their Inner Child

Sweet

via wookieepedia

Being a Kid at any Age

I will be 34 years old later this month.  Perception of that age lies solely in the beholder as I am still a spring chicken to many and old man river to others.  I don’t have any issue with getting older and have been sporting that distinguished salt and pepper look for close to a decade now.  One of the reasons I don’t worry about getting older is because by now I have realized that there is a part of me that remains a perpetual child.  I do my fair share of grownup stuff like pay bills and taxes and schedule parent teacher conferences but even in a deep-sea of responsibility I cannot escape certain Peter Pan type tendencies.  I don’t do these things as a concerted effort to “stay young at heart” but I know that they probably help.  Here are some of the ways my inner child escapes no matter how old I get.

  • If I stop at the grocery store on my way home from work I still get the kid cart with the race car because, hello? race car!
  • Though not often down south, if I am ever driving and it starts to snow, I pretend I am taking the Millennium Falcon into hyper-space.
  • The only downside to two daughters is toy shopping, that’s OK though, I bought a suction cup dart blow gun last week that is suuweet!
  • BOO! If given the chance, I will always lurk in the shadows so I can scare you when you walk in.  Then you will slightly pee yourself and I will crack up.
  • Race Ya.  To the mailbox, folding laundry, cleaning up toys, I am always up for a good race.
  • Chasing the ice cream truck.  This is way less embarrassing now that I have kids with me but one day I will be frantically searching for loose change in my room at the home when I hear that thing rolling up the street.
  • Licking the spoon. (no explanation needed)

I could go on and on because to be honest I still probably do more kid things than grown up things but I will start the list with these and let you add your tips on staying young and feeding your inner kiddo.  I once had a dream I was licking frosting off of the mixing spoon when I heard the ice cream truck coming down the street, I looked at my wife and she said “race ya” and it was totally sweet.

How do you keep from growing up?

 

Weak

I didn’t Know That was There Until it Hurt So Bad 

via someecards

Man, I am getting old.  I know this because after working in the yard all day yesterday it hurts to type.  Yeah you read that right, my hands are sore.  As much as I may be a perpetual kid inside, there is no mistaking the fact that the new car smell has worn off and some of the features of this thing don’t work like they used to.  I often joke about the 20-year-old me shaking his head in disappointment if he heard some of the things I say or think today.  For example, I now place real value on something called a good night’s sleep.  There is no escaping it, somewhere inside of me is a cardigan sweater, the faint smell of Ben Gay and the desire to cut out things from the newspaper.  I hold that person at bay the best I can but here are some of the things that remind me that I am no spring chicken any more.

  • When people come over I want them to take off their shoes and stand on our new memory foam bath mats.
  • I researched toothbrushes online and read reviews.
  • I know better than eating too many cucumbers.  Ever get indigestion when you were 22?  didn’t think so.
  •  I know that if I took acetaminophen 3 hours ago and my back still hurts, it is OK to take ibuprofen now.
  • I know the names of different kinds of medicine.
  • Food guilt. (Like standing over the sink inhaling leftovers at 11:45 at night and not being able to look in the mirror later.)
  • WebMD isn’t just for finding gross pictures anymore.
  • I walk down the cereal aisle and think “it can’t taste that different and 43 cents can really add up.”
  • Having a birthday coming up makes me think about getting older instead of hoping I get a 4 wheeler.

Sadly, I can probably fill this list out faster than the first one.  What are some things that remind you that you are getting older?  Realizing it would probably be a good idea to invest in a pair of work gloves is totally weak.


Am I the Only One Who Doesn’t Already Have 2012 in a Jujitsu Submission Hold?

Sweet

Holidays: Unplugged  Image

Last night I built a fire in the fireplace that still had hot coals this morning when I woke up.  Last week I put together toys, played with dolls (2 daughters), watched movies, played games, and generally took a moment to enjoy all of the things that we spend the rest of the year working hard to take care of.  In a word, it was glorious.  In fact some time last week I posted on Facebook that the whole “not going to work” thing just felt so right it was probably God’s will.

It is important to take a moment and just be with your family and I am grateful that I was able to do that.  We all work so hard to support and provide that if we don’t take a minute sometimes to enjoy it we can forget the big picture of why we do what we do.  Not to mention, I needed the week off between Christmas and New Year’s along with a razor knife, a screwdriver, some wire cutters and a pry-bar, just to free my daughter’s presents from their packaging.  Can we all agree that it has gotten a bit out of hand?

I hope all of you had a safe and happy holiday and remembered that spending time with the ones you work so hard for is totally sweet.

 

 

Weak Image

I am Glad you are Kicking 2012 in the Face But it Just Kinda Feels Like a Monday to Me.

I am a big fan of fresh starts and setting goals and getting motivated.  That being said, on the morning of January 1, 2012, I still needed to clean my closet.  I still needed to take the trash out, and I still had 47 other unfinished projects at home/work/etc.

I think I am probably more of a 1st quarter resolution type of guy.  In college I just about always skipped the first day of class and in high school I rarely got there in time for home room.  I still learned the stuff (mostly) but I avoided all of the hoopla and rigmarole of “getting started.”  

There are definitely things that I want to do this year and things that I want to improve in my life, I also know that if I burst off the starting line in a dead sprint I will get winded and the rest of the field will pass me in short order.  Then I will get discouraged and just go make a sandwich.

So to all of you out there that don’t already have 2012 in a submission hold, don’t be discouraged, you aren’t alone.  Set your goals and follow through and make it a great year but don’t give up if it seems like everyone else woke up a new person in a new world because they didn’t.  They still need to clean their closet out too.  Unrealistic New Year’s resolutions are totally weak.

 

 


At Home Dry Cleaning

Sweet

The Dryer  

This is the second reference to the dryer I have written this week so you Freudians feel free to judge  and explain what is wrong with me.  You know when you have worn a shirt and managed not to spill coffee on it?  It is one of the “good shirts” and it is sitting on top of the laundry pile having avoided the osmosis funk that lurks just beneath that top layer.  If this shirt is in the “starting rotation” I am not above getting a second wear out of it provided I administer a bit of at home dry cleaning.  Am I alone in thinking that 5 minutes in a dryer with a dryer sheet not only gets out most wrinkles but also pretty much makes a garment clean again?   I think that we can all agree that jeans don’t reach their optimal look and comfort until the third wear between washes but if you try to stretch that out to a fourth then you are just gross and lazy. While the jeans thing is a certainty that I would be willing to argue I have an inkling that I am not alone in the at home dry cleaning thing.   I am a big fan of the dryer and its magic ability to “freshen up” something when I am in a time pinch.  While I am interested if this is a common occurence in many homes that just simply isn’t conversation material during the fantasy football draft or bunco night, I do think it necessary to note that this works for outer garments only.  If you do this to socks and underwear you aren’t fooling anyone, you have missed my point entirely, and to be honest, I feel sorry for you.  Washing clothes in 5 minutes in the dryer is totally sweet.

Weak 

Not cursing in front of your kids when you stub your pinkie toe or step on a Lego.

I feel pretty certain that in the deepest dungeons of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib there were terrorists in blindfolds and bare feet walking around in a dark room with Legos scattered all over the floor.  How is it that something so small and colorful designed only to bring joy and laughter to innocent children capable of inflicting the kind of pain that makes your extremities go numb and your eyes start to water?  In general we are not a family of potty mouths and I am fairly certain that our children have never been subjected to any foul language spewing from mommy or daddy’s lips.  That is not something that takes a great deal of focus or concentration but there are those moments when you kick the corner of the coffee table or step on a toy that is nestled in the carpet waiting for a victim that we have to think quick and be creative.  SON OF A BISCUIT, JEEZE OH PETE, MOTHER OF PEARL, etc.  We all want to be good role models for our children but when someone pulls out in front of you in traffic or the hoof of a “My Little Pony” digs into your heel we can be stretched to our self-censoring limits.  So I guess not cursing in front of your kids is pretty sweet but feeling like you were just stabbed in the toe with a rusty spike and not being able to drop a much-needed F-bomb can be totally weak.  What substitutes do you use in your house?


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