May 5, 2011

Paging Doctor Dad

Two nights ago, Swee’pea came down with a fever. Like the good parents that we are we gave her a shot of ibuprofen and sent her to bed. She woke up without a fever but we kept her home from school in strict observance of the universal law that states you cannot send your kid to school until a fever has been gone for a minimum of 24 hours, 2 minutes and 13 seconds.

While the fever was gone, Swee’Pea’s appetite was not its usual self. And when I say not its usual self I mean that she no longer wanted to eat morning, noon and night and at 7:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Seriously, the girl puts away food faster than you can say “high metabolism.”

So because Swee’Pea hadn’t really eaten yesterday, it wasn’t a surprise that she awoke today starving. She was starving so much, in fact, she felt compelled to walk in and tell me as much – while I was in the shower. I promised that as soon as I was done washing the soap out of my eyes, I would feed her.

Soon enough I was busy making breakfast of cinnamon toast and yogurt with bananas – which she promptly inhaled. Only a few minutes later she announces, “Daddy, I feel like I’m gonna throw up.”

And with those words, my morning became… complicated. My mind raced as I suddenly had to make a decision and make it fast. The school bus was a mere 15 minutes away and any delay could cause us to miss the bus. I weighed all of my data: She WAS sick yesterday but currently had no fever. She just ate a bunch of food, possibly causing an upset stomach. She enjoyed her day at home with Mama yesterday that she could be angling for another one. Or she could be genuinely sick and about to puke cinnamon toast and banana yogurt everywhere.

As I handed her a large bowl from the kitchen I did what most Dads would do (and it pains me to admit this) – I consulted Doctor Mom. We weighed the options and likely scenarios. We discussed contingency plans and how they would be carried out. We relied on our vast medical knowledge – Doctor Mom has watched at least two full seasons of Grey’s Anatomy while my background consists of countless MASH reruns and an embarrassingly weak moment of Doogie Howser fandom.

Based on that information, we rolled the dice and did what almost all of you reading this right now would have done.

We told her to suck it up and go to school. Mommy and Daddy have things to do.

June 6, 2010

The fine line of parenting

It’s important to provide a mellow bedtime routine to help kids transition to sleep. The books tell you that.

But it’s equally important to boogie to Lady Gaga’s Telephone while getting jammies on – creating laughter and memories. My heart tells me that.

It’s important to provide nutritious, balanced meals and limit unhealthy snacks. The experts tell you that.

But sometimes it’s okay to have cake for dinner or ice cream for lunch. The smiles tell me that.

It’s important to teach proper table manners when kids are young. It will prepare them for when they live in an adult world.

But it’s also okay to giggle and make up silly words at the dinner table from time to time. It reminds us that being a kid is such a short window of time.

You’re supposed to let your children grow and mature, right before your eyes. Everyone knows that.

But when your babies are about to turn five, all you want to do is hold them, and kiss them and snuggle all day with them. I could tell you that.

May 30, 2009

Retirement Options

Dear Swee’Pea and TheMonk,

You might not be aware of this right now, but we’re in a recession. The economy has taken a dive and families all over the country have taken a hit in the wallet. We’re no different. Our house is worth much, much less than when we bought it and retirement funds have been slashed as well.

As I have been eying our options, I have come to the conclusion that you two are the single biggest factor in how your mother and I live our golden years. No pressure but every life decision you make will directly impact the quality of life we will have. In case you needed some clarification on how this works, I have taken the liberty of creating some scenarios for you so that you can better understand the connection between your mother and father’s happiness and your own future.

Married vs. Single
If you stay single I upgrade to a BMW (and save a little “just in case” there’s a future wedding)
If you decide to elope, I upgrade to a porsche within the week.
If, however, you have a real wedding, I downgrade to a unicycle bought off Craigslist from an unemployed circus clown.

Prestigious University vs. School of Hard Knocks
If you don’t go to college, your mother and I take your college fund and travel the French Riviera for weeks on end dining on escargot, caviar and lobster.
If, however, you do go to college, we travel as far as the local Taco Bell, dining on 7-layer burritos before rushing back to the house in gastrointestinal distress while arguing who gets to use the “good” bathroom.
Of course, if you don’t go to college you’ll have other worries – like where you’ll live.

Fame & Fortune vs. Do-Gooder
If you become famous for something other than appearing naked in a magazine, leading to untold riches, your parents will be moving to a Hawaiian estate overlooking the ocean. You will pay for it. It’s in the contract you signed when you were three. I know it’s in crayon but it’s still enforceable in a court of law.
If, however, you follow your old man into the non-profit world, your parents will be renting out your old rooms to some meth-smoking college students who steal our identity and spend your inheritance on pay-per-view porn and prostitutes.

Near vs. Far
If you marry your high school sweetheart, live nearby and come visit us periodically, you can make sure we’re okay on a regular basis and we’ll be able to live in peace knowing loved ones will be there for us in our times of need.
If, however, you find love, move away, have kids and never come back except for the odd holiday or high school reunion, one day you will realize you haven’t heard from us in a while and authorities will subsequently find our mummified bodies. I will be sitting in front of the TV, remote in had, with Food Network still on. Your mother will be found staring forlornly at the phone that never, ever rang.

I’m still in the process of creating Plan B for retirement. So far I have come up with a handful of ideas but they all include webcams and farm animals and I don’t think your mother is going to sign off on any of these ideas. So, as you see, your decisions are what really will make or break the latter years of our lives.

Choose wisely.

May 16, 2009

Riddle me this…

Lately, this parenting thing has raised more questions than answers. So many questions come up every day that I thought I’d throw up a few to see if any of you might enlighten me. Or, perhaps, you have some questions of your own. Either way, leave a comment and we’ll get through this parenting thing together.

How is it that 5 minute naps in the car means your child will not fall asleep again until Letterman signs off?

Is there a limit to how many times a kid can poop in one day?

Why does your child wait until the guy with the mohawk and the tattoo of a swatsika on his forehead is standing right next to you to ask, “Daddy, why does that man look like that?!”

Why does your child’s extreme need to tell you something always coincide with your need to use the bathroom?

How can the hour before bed time seem like a year and the year between birthdays seem like an hour?

Why do the words, “Daddy, come see what I did!” send chills down my spine?

How can a child who can’t count past 13 know when she’s been short-changed in the snack department?

Why does the three-year-old get to control the remote?

Why do tantrums always seem to occur when you’re running late?

Why can’t both kids get sick at the same time?

When do kids learn to wipe their own butt?

Why don’t marker sets come with extra pink and extra blue pens?

Can ketchup be considered a vegetable?

Why don’t more foods come in the shape of a nugget?

Why don’t upscale restaurants have a Drive-Thru?

Why do the words “Be gentle with the cat” sink in just fine but the words “Don’t hit your brother,” don’t?

Why did the Thomas The Train people name a train Percy? Don’t they know how that sounds from a little boy who has trouble pronouncing his “R’s”?

When will Kelly and Handy Manny finally get it on in the back of the hardware store?

Why do kids always miss the toy the day after you throw it out?

Do kids lack the ability to recognize they’ve seen the same damn episode of [insert any children's television show here] three times in the past five days?

When will I finally get this parenting thing figured out?

November 19, 2007

A Touchy Subject

Well, I guess the way to wake up people around here is to question the status quo on parenting.

The results are in to yesterday’s poll question. To refresh your memory I asked, “How late is too late for a 2 or 3 year old toddler to be out?”

136 people have responded in the past 24 hours.

58% said 8:00 – 9:00 p.m.
27% said 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
9% said “It’s never too late.”
6% said 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The comments I’ve received both here and at TheBlogfathers where I cross-posted this have been a combination of “I agree” and “There are extenuating circumstances”.

Of course there are extenuating circumstances. Many focused on the bedtime itself, explaining they needed to keep their kids up so they could spend time with them after work. I totally understand this as I get maybe 30 to 40 minutes of time with my kids before bedtime. My issue is with parents keeping their children out on the town at an hour that is generally pretty late for a small child.

But that’s me. That’s my circumstance. A set schedule, when parenting twins, is so important because one cranky child is bad enough. Two cranky toddlers makes one want to take an ice pick and jam into the ear canal to make the whining stop. We do all we can to make sure our children stay on schedule.

So that’s that. Perhaps I’ll try and steer clear of the judgmental parenting for the time being.

November 18, 2007

Where I become a judgemental parent

Whenever I go out to run errands or just go somewhere to relax, it is usually after the kids have been put to bed. In our household bedtime is 7:00 p.m.

Because it is the norm to have our very-ready-for-sleep kids go to bed at this hour, it amazes me how many people I see out toting their toddlers around town. Right now, as I type this, it is 9:40 p.m. on a Saturday night. A couple just walked into The Coffee Bean coffee shop, where I have staked out a spot, with their 2 year old son.

Is this more of a norm than I thought? Different strokes for different folks? Should I just mind my own business?

Yeah, I should just mind my own business.

November 17, 2007

Being an adult makes my head hurt.

For the past several weeks the lovely wife has been poring over our financial existence. Retirement funds, school loans, salaries, college funds, piggy banks, lottery tickets and anything else related to our financial future.

The goal? Well, apparently there will be a time when we’re too old to work and, according to my lovely wife, we need to be prepared for that day. While she liked my idea of raising genius, fabulously rich children that will take care of us in our senior days, she thought we can’t put all of our pennies in that basket. So, we have to spend our days talking about this type of fund and that type of fund and whether we want to eat filet mignon in our senior days or live off of cat food.

Personally, I think cat food could be quite tasty.

Seriously though, it’s really hard to decide today what kind of life you want to have 26 years from now. Will we want to travel? Hell yeah! Do we want to visit our grandkids after they have moved somewhere significantly far from where we live? You bet! Do we want to live in our current mansion or downsize to a condo that has a community center with a bingo night? It depends on whether they play for money or not.

There are so many variables and wants and only a finite amount of resources. I mean, I do work for a non-profit and while my retirement plan is probably the best you’ll see at a non-profit, it still isn’t going to allow me to jet set to Europe every year. I’d love for us to pay for our kids education entirely but, realistically, they’ll have to contribute something so they’ll need to be either awesome athletes or brainiacs to the nth degree.

So, I want to take this opportunity to thank my Honey for making sure we won’t be panhandling along the Pacific Ocean in our older years and remind Swee’Pea and TheMonk that I’ll do all that I can to ensure their success.

But if they become fabulously rich… This blog is documentation of how great a parent I’ve been.

I’m just sayin’…

August 28, 2007

I love the smell of diapers in the morning

We just had some friends stay for the weekend. We spent a good amount of time straightening up before they arrived so they would think that we are super parents with twins who don’t have a small collection of Hot Wheels, plastic fruit and stale Cheerios living under our coffee table. We wanted them to think our house is always this nice.

And speaking of nice, some people go to great lengths to keep their house smelling nice. There is an entire industry devoted to this single aspect of home living. There are candles, plug-ins, sprays, carpet powders and potpourri in just about any scent you can imagine. If you want your house to smell lemony fresh with a touch of oatmeal raisin cookies, it is possible to combine a few of the above products and – voilĂ  – instant warmth.

But if you have TWO toddlers who are programmed to excrete a toxic-waste-like poop each and every night at about the same time Lindsay Lohan is puking from her last amaretto sour, AND it has been so hot where you live that the Air Conditioner has become permanently set to “Igloo” then you are apt to wake to a different aroma emanating from the air ducts into each and every room of the house. Waking up to Folgers, it’s not.

Every now and then I get a whiff of what is the unmistakable smell of my kids poop. (BTW, it it just me or can you also identify your kid’s poop smell in a crowded room of toddlers?) My fear is that we’ve become accustomed to this smell. Much like your best friends house in the third grade who’s parents were from India and when you walked into the musty house you thought… “Don’t they smell this funk?” Did our guests smell this too? If they did, they were polite about it and puked in the guest bathroom with the door closed.

So, if you’re in the neighborhood, you are welcome to stop by anytime. We are great hosts and will welcome you with open arms to our humble abode. However, it might be a good idea to take along some lemons or oatmeal raisin cookies (and please don’t check under the coffee table).

May 22, 2007

A Stomach for Parenting

Where have I been you ask?

Well, no, actually no one asked.

I mean, Metrodad goes a week without posting and people apparently send out search dogs and hold candle-light vigils. But does anyone wonder where good old Matthew went? Nooooooo.

But I digress.

Anyway, if you were wondering where I’ve been this past week it would be a long story. A long story that involves barfing, body aches and deeply religious overtures to God, Buddha, Abba, Yahweh, Allah, George Burns and Morgan Freeman.

It would involve a lovely romantic tale of a married couple puking together (Thank George Burns for two and a half bathrooms) hours after their son spread bodily fluids throughout our house.

It would involve can’t-miss work meetings while aches permeated every sense and only made possible by ingesting large amounts of pain killer and swigging Imodium AD (After Death?) from the bottle.

It would involve weekend trips to the after-hours pediatrician to have ear infections diagnosed on not one but both Swee’Pea and TheMonk.

It would not involve one solid meal for four straight days.

It would involve two parents bargaining with each other and with employers to take time off to care for two sick kids but not for each other.

But as with any great story it would also feature great dramatic turns where just as it seems evil and darkness would prevail, light and the pink stuff (in the guise of Pepto and Omoxyciliin) snuffed out all evil.

The end of the story would show a calm lake with early morning sunlight breaking through the clouds to reveal a day of normalcy. A day when Mommy and Daddy went to work. A day where Swee’Pea and Monk went to daycare. A day where schedules became the norm rather than the exception.

It would have been a great story. But I’m too tired to tell it. I’m going to bed now.

No candle-light vigils, please.

April 22, 2007

Performance Anxiety

Now I know that I’ve written before about how I’m not looking forward to this potty training thing. However, something just happened that makes me even more sure that this potty training thing is a bit overrated.

This morning I had morning duty with the kids while Mommy got some much-deserved rest. At some point I became aware that I was going to have to use the facility – or as we now say in our household, “Go caca” (which is the spanish word for Poo Poo for those of you that aren’t bilingual).

Two things bothered me about this revelation. One, I wouldn’t be able to set up office in the restroom with this week’s Sports Illustrated or the Sunday Target Ads. The second, was that I didn’t want to call attention to me having to use the facility by enclosing the twins in our “kid safe” zone. Instead, I let them watch Sign Language videos while I quietly snuck into the downstairs bathroom to do some quick business, leaving the door slightly ajar.

No sooner had I settled down when TheMonk appeared. Normally, he’s not allowed to go into the downstairs restroom because it’s where we have the cat food and water – something that is far more interesting to little toddlers than it should be. Taking advantage of my compromised position, he sauntered in with a mischevious half-smile that seemed to say, “Try getting me out of here with your pants around your ankles, Daddy.”

As I hurried the act, TheMonk pointed out all the things in the bathroom. “Kitty Food…” “Kitty Water…” and if there was any doubt to what Daddy was doing, “Daddy, Ca Ca!”

This announcement piqued the interest of another little one in the house and Swee’Pea arrived to see the spectacle. Suddenly, I felt very exposed. I also realized that the only thing left for me to do was wipe. Now, if it was meant for humans to watch each other wipe, God wouldn’t have invented doors. But there I was, about to wipe, with four little eyes intently watching.

I stood up quickly to do the deed and took care of business as quickly as possible. While doing this, TheMonk pointed to the bowl and yelled, once again, “Daddy Ca Ca!”

I am finally done and I pull up my pants with my audience following my every move. I decide to ensure they see all aspects of using the toilet by announcing that I’m going to wash my hands. This isn’t nearly as exciting as watching Daddy poop so the crowd disperses in much the same way after police have cleaned up a crime scene – they both move along.

I finish washing my hands and reflect on this experience. I know that all the potty training books advocate having the kids watch a parent to see what this “using the potty” thing is all about. It’s something I’m not looking forward to. Then I remember… There’s another parent in this household.

Let’s all go watch Mommy! Yay!

Next Page »

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

Join other followers: