June 12, 2012

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Seven years.

I can’t believe it’s been seven years.  It seems like I’ve always known you.  The sound of your laughs, the way you speak, the smell of your skin during a goodnight kiss.  All of this is you and before there was you doesn’t even resonate with me anymore.

I am incredibly proud of both of you.  Swee’Pea, you really hit your stride this year in school.  You read at almost a sixth grade level and, socially, you blossomed into someone who makes good friends.  Monk, you loved first grade.  Your teacher was the perfect teacher for you and you soaked up school.  Your math and analytical skills are amazing and your love of Junie B. Jones is unmatched.

But I can’t believe it’s been seven years.  Just yesterday, you were snuggling in my arms.  Just yesterday, I was watching you take your first steps.  Just yesterday, you were clinging to my legs on your first day of preschool.  Just yesterday, you weren’t seven.

And now you are.  You are the most wonderful seven-year-olds the world has ever seen. You radiate joy and revel in the world around you.  You believe in magic.  You believe in fairies and Santa and the Easter bunny too.  I hope, in some way, you will always continue to believe what precocious little seven-year-olds believe.

But I also hope that you’ll slow this ride down just a bit.  Seven years.  It seems like yesterday.

Seven Years Old
Happy Birthday to my beautiful kids

May 26, 2012

You say potato, she says nuts.

It is a rare moment in time.  I’m playing with all three kids at once and as I playfully lift GirlyGirl over my head, Swee’Pea and TheMonk, jump around me shrieking in joy, kinda like a scene out of Lord of the Flies, only without the pigs blood.

I’m enjoying the laughter and the shouts of glee, particularly from GirlyGirl who is reveling in the moment as three of her four favorite people are having fun around her.  I swing GirlyGirl low, between my legs and then high, over my head.  I repeat this motion several times until I’m forced to change direction as Swee’Pea steps into the line of fire.

Unfortunately, the change of directions has placed GirlyGirl’s kicking feet right in line with a part of my anatomy that is near and dear to me.  She swings her feet hard and meets with a part of my body that rhymes with besticles, and suddenly, the world stops as I inhale deeply and make some guttural sound that only men in my situation can appreciate.

Everyone stops what they are doing.  Me, Swee’Pea, TheMonk and even Mommy over on the couch.  I make eye contact with the lovely wife and her look tells me she understands what just happened.  Apparently, Swee’Pea understood as well.

“What happened?” She asks. “Did GirlyGirl kick you in the nuts?”

The next 10 years are gonna kill me, I think.

May 20, 2012

She’s got his back

Swee’Pea and TheMonk get to buy lunch at the school cafeteria one time a week.  It’s our favorite day of the week because they get to choose what they want at the cafeteria and I don’t have to make lunches.  It’s a win-win.

A little more than week ago, on a Friday, Swee’Pea and TheMonk came home from school and I asked them what they had for lunch that day.  Swee’Pea excitedly rattled off her choice of pizza, salad, orange slices and, for dessert, a frozen orange juice fruit bar.  This last item is considered a dessert and all other items must be eaten before eating the fruit bar.  This rule, I imagine, is rarely enforced because the kids self-report that they ate everything to get their juice bar.  With this in mind, I asked TheMonk what he ate.  With a dejected look on his little face, he explained that he chose pizza, carrots and spicy pickles.  “But the pickles were too spicy so I didn’t eat them and I couldn’t get my fruit bar.”

Fast forward a few days later and I ask Swee’Pea and TheMonk which day they want to buy lunch.  Swee’Pea votes for Wednesday.  TheMonk votes for Friday.  I tell them, “I’m not going to make one lunch so you two need to talk it out.  Explain your reasoning on why you want the day you want.”

Swee’Pea goes first.  “I want to buy lunch on Wednesday because it’s “brunch for lunch” and we get pancakes.”  This is a compelling argument and I expect TheMonk to readily agree with his sister.  Who would turn down pancakes?!

TheMonk, however, isn’t swayed.  He looks up at both his sister and I and he simply says, “I want my popsicle.”

Swee’Pea, bless her heart, without missing a beat, says.  “Okay.  Friday.”

April 15, 2012

A future in sales?

Swee’Pea, seeing the remnants of our old blender tucked away in the pantry, suddenly looks up at me as I tend the pancakes on the griddle. “Daddy, did you know you can get a Ninja Blender?”

Thinking there is a punchline to the joke forthcoming, I ask her to continue.

“Yes, while some blenders leave the nutrients of vegetables you blend behind, the Ninja Blender does not. And you know how much it costs? Not, $300. Not $200. Not even $100. You can buy it with four easy payments of $39.95.”

Hmmmm… Maybe her mother was right about limiting the amount of TV she watches (and maybe spend that time with her math skills).

But, damn, I think she’s right. I need that Ninja blender.

*(This is not an endorsement of this product. It’s a sure sign that my daughter is watching informercials instead of Nick Jr. Buy this product at your own risk. If you do buy this product, let me know how it works. I’m really interested.)

April 9, 2012


She sits on the chair in her Sunday best.  The chaos around her is the rest of us rushing to get ready for church services on this Easter Sunday.  She is oblivious to the chaos, however, as she quietly reads her book.

The book was a gift from the Easter Bunny and it’s a chapter book about Fancy Nancy and some mysteries.  Swee’Pea has yet to put it down.  As we leave for church she implores me to allow her to bring the book along.  While we want her to start listening to the service more, I acquiesce and allow her to bring it along knowing there will be time to kill before mass.

She reads it in the car to church and on the way home.  As I prepare lunch she is fervently bent over the book and I announce that lunch is almost ready and that she should find a good spot to stop reading.  She tells me, with a proud smile, that she has only two more pages.  Lunch is ready but I tell her that I have a bit more to do before lunch is served.  She smiles and buries her head into her book for the final push while I wander around the kitchen pretending I have things to do.

With a flourish, she is finished.  She closes the book and approaches the table.  “I’m done, Daddy” she says.  And she was.  Thirteen chapters in half a day at six years old.  I’m amazed at how big she is getting and I smile at her and tell her how proud I am of her.

Then we sit down for egg salad sandwiches and she tells me about the book.  I hope it’s the first of many book reports.


February 11, 2012

And when they said come dancing, my sister always did.

You look beautiful. I mean, you always look beautiful, but on this evening, dressed in the gown your grandmother bought you on a whim, you look enchanting. Your mother has helped you with your hair and as dusk turns into evening, we head to your school for your first school dance.

On this night, you have the good fortune of having two wonderful (if I do say so myself) escorts. TheMonk of course, dressed in his finest plaid, and your Daddy. I have chosen slacks, a light green dress shirt and blazer to match. We are the best looking trio at the dance.

And as we enter the dark auditorium, the sparkles from the disco ball and the laser lights bouncing around the room as the bass pumps from a song I only vaguely know, I look to you and your brother to see how you will react. In the not-so-long-ago distance you would cling to me with uncertainty and, perhaps, shed a tear as you’d struggle to overcome your fear in search of having a good time. Try. I’d tell you. And eventually you would.

I expect more of the same on this night but as we enter the dance, you begin to sway and dance to music. We all start to dance, your brother, myself, you and a couple of neighbor friends and it is like you were born to do this. Before long, you are not even next to me as you rush over to dance with friends and I watch you from afar, your flowing white dress silhouetted against the disco lights. You throw your hands up over your head and jump up and down to the beat of the music. You are graceful and light on your feet and your smile lights up the darkness around you.

TheMonk and I dance close by but you are oblivious to us. And as I slowly come to the realization that you are growing up, little girl, my heart swells with pride while, at the same time, I am thankful for the darkness as I blink back the tears of longing. Longing for the days when my little girl needed her Daddy. But proud of the independent and strong girl you are becoming.

Before long, TheMonk joins you too and I am left alone to watch you both while bobbing my head to the beat. Nobody told me fatherhood would be like this. No one tells you that sooner than you think, the blink of an eye, actually, your baby grows up.

But I’ll be right over here if you need me.


December 24, 2011

Jingle Bells, The Baby Smells…

Merry Christmas, everyone! May your holiday season be filled with love, friendship and lots of chocolate. From our family, to yours, have a very happy holiday.

I used to write a blog
About Swee’Pea & TheMonk
But then came #3
And now they’re in a funk, Boo Hoo Hoo
But Santa’s on his way
So we are being good
We tell Santa we love our sis
We’re just misunderstood!
Oh, Jingle Bells, The Baby Smells
But she’s here to stay
She only sleeps, eats and poops
But we love her anyway, hey!
At least three times a week
The baby cries at night
I haven’t slept a full 8 hours
And now I’m quite a sight
But they say this soon shall pass
When she’s not quite so new
Yes I’m tired, but it’s ok
At least it isn’t two!

December 8, 2011

Gotta get my ears checked

We are eating dinner. Our dinner conversation has taken a typical turn towards school.

Swee’Pea reports that she jumped up three frogs in reading level and got to check out harder books at the library today.

“You are such a good reader, Swee’Pea.” I say. “I’m so proud of you reading these new books.”

Swee’Pea takes a bite of food and, with a mouth slightly full, replies, “And I slap your butt.”

“What did you say?!” I choke out, in disbelief that my sweet 6 year old would even go there during a standard dinner conversation.

“I said, ‘And I read chapter books!’” She says indignantly.

I breathe a sigh of relief and laugh as I tell the table what I thought she had said.

We all get a good laugh – except the baby. She isn’t old enough to appreciate butt humor.

Someday. Someday.

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.

February 15, 2011

Daddy-Daughter Date

“I wanna paint my nails, wear lip gloss and put my hair up in a bun, like this, and then have the longer hair hang down. I’m also gonna wear my high heels.”

Swee’Pea describes to me her ideas of how she wants to look as we discuss our first “date.” I have signed us up for the YMCA’s Daddy-Daughter Dance – the day before Valentine’s Day. Swee’Pea is clearly excited. And while it was very clear that she’d wear the pink and black dress that her Grandma sent her for Christmas, it was equally clear that Swee’Pea had a plan on how to look pretty.

As for me? I’d be donning my dark suit, white shirt, red and gold tie. We’d go on our “date” while Mommy and TheMonk also went on a dinner “date.”

As we drove to the dance, I couldn’t help but think how this type of moment will be gone in the blink of an eye. Someday, too soon for my taste, Swee’Pea won’t want to go to a dance with her Daddy. And as I look at her in my rear-view mirror, sitting in her booster seat with her wet curls and framing her beautiful face, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of sadness that my baby girl is growing up too fast.

As we arrive at the dance, she holds my hand and we enter the decorated gymnasium and find a nail painting place and a professional photographer. We patiently wait in line for nails (Swee’Pea chooses bright pink with purple glitter) and then photographs. We chat about the pretty dresses as the music starts. At first, I can see the uncertainty in her eyes as she surveys the dance floor as it becomes crowded as a song from the movie Notting Hill plays. I’m not sure if she’ll want to dance but I gently suggest we go out to the dance floor.

To my amazement, Swee’Pea agrees and, before I know it, we are busting a move on the dance floor and I can see the joy in Swee’Pea’s face as she leads me on the dance floor, forcing me to spin her around and turn around in our spot. She is clearly having a good time. And so am I.

But before I know it, Swee’Pea announces she’s tired and I take that as our cue to leave. As we head home I am once again overcome with the emotion of raising a little girl and I hope that one day, when she goes to a dance, that she expects that boy to treat her as well as her Daddy.

As we arrive home, I lean down and give her a hug and kiss her cheek and thank her for a wonderful evening. She hugs me back and then turns on the TV. Olivia is on.

And, just like that, we’re back to normal.

Daddy & Swee'Pea


Next Page »

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

Join other followers: