March 25, 2009

Life Lesson: Self-esteem is earned, not given

I’m a big believer in fostering self-esteem in my kids. I praise them when they do something well. I encourage them when they try but don’t quite succeed. If you ask my kids if it’s okay to give up, they’ll look up and tell you, “We don’t give up. We keep trying.”

Of course, these are just words. And while words are fine action, as they say, speaks even louder. Which is why the first time we played Candyland and Swee’Pea landed on the last possible square before winning and then picked the card with the gingerbread man on it and was sent about 300 squares backwards, her old man swooped in to claim victory without missing a beat. It was beautiful. Dancing and chants of “Who’s your Daddy?!” might have taken place. Swee’Pea took it well, however. She wanted a rematch and whooped my butt the next time. (Stupid licorice square!) Her self-esteem seems just fine.

I don’t mess around in other games either. Hide and seek, for example is game where I own them. Not to belittle them or anything but, my kids suck at hiding. I count to 10 with my eyes firmly shut and I find them in about 3 seconds. Then, when it’s my turn to hide, I hide in the garage where they’re not allowed to go and I get at least 20 to 30 minutes of peace and quiet. Good times.

Finally, the kids fancy themselves quite the little runners and like to race each other all the time. I was a pretty good runner in my day and their mother was a 3-time state champion in track and field. So I know they’ve got some good genes to work with. But just because they’re three doesn’t mean they get to win every damn time, does it? Not when I’m around…

I beat them the next time too.

March 20, 2009

TheMonk’s first love

TheMonk, in his 3.75 years has never shown much of an interest in the fairer sex. My theory is that he’s already got a girl to hang out with 24/7 why does he need another one? (Swee’Pea, on the other hand, has already has her first love squarely in her sights.)

Being a typical guy, TheMonk has fallen for a younger woman. She’s two. And, as TheMonk tells me repeatedly, she’s “The Cutiest.” She’s about 2 feet tall, clutches her stuffed Ming-Ming doll wherever she goes and has the cutest little voice ever. She’s also Asian which is awesome because it gives me hope that TheMonk will marry an Asian woman someday and I’ll have totally beautiful grandchildren that will be more diverse than the united colors of Benetton.

Anyway, I have seen TheMonk interact with this little cutie off and on for the past couple of months as we always seem to be going home from daycare at the same time. A few weeks back, he actually planted a big old kiss on her cheek as we were leaving. He was smooth about it too. One second they’re laughing about the word “poopy head” and the next second he’s swooping in for a smooch.

Since that day, however, it’s been hit and miss for TheMonk. Some days they just laugh at each other and call each other names. This week, however, the little cutie actually tried several times in a 30 second window to plant her own hug and smooch on TheMonk’s face. Unfortunately, TheMonk was too busy explaining to anyone who would listen the intricacies of celestial travel (“Airplanes don’t crash into stars because the stars are really, really high.”) to notice these advances.

It was after witnessing this latest casualty that I decided that it might be time for me to impart some wisdom when it comes to interacting with the fairer sex. After all, I come with credentials. Almost 20 years ago, I was voted “biggest flirt” of the Class of ’89 so I figure it’s time to impart a few pointers to the boy.

So, I did what any dad of the the web 2.0 generation would do. I broke out the video camera.

And, after viewing this video, you’ll agree that my work is done.

March 11, 2009

The end of the pity party

I’m a pretty up-beat guy.

I like to experience the joys in life versus the kicks to the groin. I’d rather laugh than cry. When looking at a glass of water, it’s almost always half full (unless TheMonk drank it, then TheMonk’s half full).

Obviously, for the past couple of months it’s been hard to focus on all the wonders of the world when my own world seemed barren and desolate. But that ends today.

Today, I choose to look at all the good that is in my life. Today, I choose to laugh rather than cry. Today I make a choice to live life like I own it rather than living like it owns me. So while there are still many uncertainties in my life I choose to be happy nonetheless.

And I’m upbeat even after learning that my kids lost some IQ points just because I was an old fart when they were conceived. No, not even having stupid kids will get me down today.

Today was a good day. I got to sleep in (Thank you Daylight Savings Time!), I found out my kids aren’t as messed up as I feared, the auction for my YMCA (that many of you helped support) netted over $4,000(!), and I had Golden Grahams for dinner. It’s my feeling that any dinner filled with things that are partially hydrogenated is a pretty darn good meal.

And tomorrow… TOMORROW! I hear that the little punk girl I bought Girl Scout cookies from is finally going to get off her lazy butt and deliver them to my office. AND because the stars are aligning as we speak, I also hear that the two buckets of cookie dough I ordered to support the YMCA Youth & Government program is also coming tomorrow. Life is, indeed, good.

So from here on out, I hope to resonate with joy and love (and possibly chocolate chips). I hope to find humor even when it is difficult. I hope to teach my kids that it’s not getting knocked down that defines you in life. It’s whether you get back up.

And it’s good to remember that even a kick in the nuts can be pretty damn funny. Eventually.

March 9, 2009

Your own mini stimulus package

Okay. This is the last time I’m going to write about the auction. At least to beg you to bid on something. Next week will be the post where I thank all the awesome people who donated products or time in helping me promote this auction.

If you’re just joining from another planet, the short version is that two months ago I experienced something that rocked me to my very core. The timing wasn’t great as I was forced to take care of my family while I was supposed to be raising funds for my YMCA. It was during this time that I asked anyone I could think of to help me and was amazed at how many people responded.

The result is a pretty nice collection of items to bid on. If you or someone you know is about to be a first-time parent, there are some great books and music that hasn’t been bid on yet. If you have a blog that is in desperate need of a makeover, you can get a makeover for $200 $175. In fact, one of the designers who donated his services, designed this blog three short years ago.

Please go take a look around. There’s even a $100 American Express Gift Card that currently has a bid of $50 and some $50 Paradise Bakery gift cards too. It’s like you’re making money. Now go and check out the auction. Remember, it’s for the kids.


March 4, 2009

The Return of Zimba

I’m not really a dog person. I mean I like petting them or playing with them every now and then but when it comes down to it, I like other people’s dogs. I can’t handle scooping poop, rushing home to make sure the dog has peed, chew toys and the constant smell of dog that lingers no matter how much Speed Stick you’ve lathered on that day. Dogs take over your life. At least with kids, your friends will babysit every once in a while. At the end of the day you don’t own a dog, the dog owns you.

Which is why, yesterday, when picking the twins up from daycare I confronted my worst nightmare. A lost dog. A lost cute dog that ran right up to TheMonk and licked him in the face. The dog then looked up at me with his big brown puppy-dog eyes and said, “Take me home. You don’t want me to die a slow, painful death in the freezing cold, do you?” (Yes, I know I live in San Diego where “freezing” equals shorts weather in the Northeast but work with me here. It’s all relative.)

After knocking on a couple of doors it became evident that we didn’t know where this dog belonged. Against my better judgment (and to the utter delight of two 3-year-olds) I found myself placing a cute wiener dog into the hatchback of my car.

Before long dog food was procured, a bed was made out of old towels and an old moving blanket in the garage and two little ones threw a ball at the dog until the ball said, “Enough already!” The dog slept in the garage. The twins slept in their beds. Until approximately hellish-early. It was at that time they came running into my room, before the sun had actually crested the mountains to the East, and shouted six words in unison… “Can we go see the dog?!”

(I have never seen my kids dress so quickly. I might keep a dog in the garage forever if it means we can get dressed without naked butts running around wildly while underwear sits atop heads.)

Before we knew it, the kids were playing with the dog while I quickly printed out a flyer to post around the neighborhood. I explained to the kids that Daddy was going to find the dog’s owner and that we would NOT be keeping this dog. I think Swee’Pea’s response was something along the lines of, “Yeah, yeah. Whatever, Daddy. We got a dog!”

But fate was not on Swee’Pea’s side. After dropping the kids off at daycare I proceeded to plaster three streets that surround the area where we found the dog with flyers. I stuck those flyers everywhere. Street signs, mailboxes, slow-moving old ladies. It didn’t matter. That dog was getting found.

And on the last street with only a handful of flyers still in my possession, I heard the best seven words in the English language. “Excuse me. Did you find my dog?” (Admit it, you just counted those seven words didn’t you?)

Anyway, needless to say I FLEW back to my house, threw the dog in the back seat and hauled butt down the hill to where the lady awaited her baby. I presented the dog and she was so grateful she asked, “How much do I pay you?” “Pay me?” I thought. “I should be paying you lady because after seeing the look on my kid’s faces, I thought I was going to have to keep this dog forever.”

“You don’t have to pay me.” I replied. “But can I drop by this evening so my kids can say goodbye?”

“Of course!” she said. “They can come visit Zimba anytime.”

So we did. At the end of the day the kids got to say goodbye to the dog and I got to come home to a poop-free home. I felt like I had won the lottery. No dog would be ruling my life today.

Zimba, I’m sure, was equally relieved.

Bye Bye Zimba!


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: